Ala. Senate gives final OK to new Gulf park hotel

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate has given final
passage to a bill clearing the way for a new convention center and
luxury hotel at Gulf State Park.

The Senate voted 23-3 Thursday to accept changes made in the
bill by the House and send the legislation to Gov. Bob Riley, who
is expected to sign it into law.

The bill is a compromise that ends a long legal fight over
replacing the old hotel that was destroyed when Hurricane Ivan hit
the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2004.

It allows the state to lease Gulf State Park land for 70 years
to a private company for development of the hotel. It also requires
that the operator of the hotel be chosen through a competitive bid
process and that the convention center be run by state employees.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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