Letter: Orange Beach will remain family-friendly

Published 2:03 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019

With eight miles of beachfront on the Alabama Gulf Coast and 46 miles of total shoreline, including the back bays, the City of Orange Beach is a year-round recreational paradise.

Our winter visitors to the beach, called snowbirds, arrive in earnest after the holidays and generally stay between January 1st and mid-March. It is during this time when 60% of Orange Beach’s 9,900 accommodation units are occupied, ballooning our 6,000 population to upwards of 30,000. In short, we become a much larger city than most people realize even during the “off” season. During peak season, occupancy hovers around 90% with our numbers topping 100,000. On paper, the City of Orange Beach ranks 101st in population in Alabama, but is far from that at any point during the year. At the height of the summer season in July, Orange Beach becomes the state’s 5th largest city, and even during the winter months we’re in the top 20.

While our population is always in flux, our traditional family values never waiver. The city council and I have made an intentional choice to preserve our “family-friendly” brand. Come March, snowbirds are replaced by families enjoying spring break. While spring break is a special time for so many, unfortunately it is also a time when a few vacationers take advantage of our kindness and hospitality.

For those looking for a party town during spring break, Orange Beach is not it. Underage drinking, illegal drug use, disorderly conduct or any disturbance of the peace is never tolerated here. There will be no warnings, no mulligans, pour-outs, or do-overs. If you are drinking under age, if you are doing illegal drugs, misbehaving or are publicly intoxicated, you will go to jail.

We will not compromise our family-friendly brand for a buck. We are uncompromising in compromising. We respect our visitors and expect it in return. It is only fair. We are a sanctuary city … for families, and pride ourselves on that.

By protecting our brand, we are also protecting the investment the State of Alabama continues to make at its beaches – from roadways to bridges to the Gulf State Park. The state continues to see an ever-increasing return on its investment.

Spring break will be here before we know it and remember our family-friendly beaches are here for you. When Alabamians vacation at home on our sugar-white sands, it’s a win-win for everyone.

For our visitors from all over the country … all over the world, we want to create and present an image of an Alabama that believes in God, family and country. We want all Alabamians to be proud of the family-friendly image that we present and protect.

Mayor Tony Kennon

City of Orange Beach