Alabama Senate Debates Beach Convention Hotel

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate debated legislation Tuesday night that would allow a private developer to build and operate a convention hotel on the beach at Gulf State Park.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Daphne, said giving a ground lease to a developer would generate money that would help operate Alabama's other state parks.

Gulf State Park had a lodge and conference center that were ruined by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Gov. Robert Bentley has pushed for the development of a privately operated convention hotel and a publicly funded conference center to attract big conventions now going to the Florida Panhandle and Mississippi coast.

The project is opposed by the privately own Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, which has sued the state over efforts to build a hotel.

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