After about 14 months of construction, the first phase of the Country Crossing project is now complete.
Workers are busy putting the finishing touches on the multi-million dollar entertainment extravaganza in preparation for Tuesday’s grand opening.
After a long and difficult road, officials at Country Crossing say they are now ready to open for business.
The controversial project has hit a few well-publicized snags along the way because of the ongoing bingo debate, but that didn't stop Ronnie Gilley and his team from keeping the dream alive.
It's billed as a country music-themed, one-of-a-kind entertainment resort complete with fun for the whole family.
“It's phenomenal; it’s one of those things that keeps you up at night. Just the thought of all these people putting their heart and soul into it and Ronnie’s vision is coming true,” said Mark Sheldon with Ronnie Gilley Properties.
That vision will soon become reality.
After breaking ground in October of 2008, Country Crossing is slated to open Tuesday at 3 p.m.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) night we've got the Possum Holler Bed and Breakfast, the RV Park, Lorrie Morgan's Hot Chicken, Daryl Worley's saloon, John Anderson's Cafeteria and the bingo pavilion will all be open. And at the end of the week, the amphitheater will be open so by the end of the week we'll have eight venues open ready to go,” said Sheldon.
Developer Ronnie Gilley addressed leaders from several wiregrass towns Monday afternoon, answering any last minute questions before the project opened for business.
“I think that in the long run it will bring jobs to the community, housing is going to grow,” said Rehobeth Mayor Joe Collins.
“Country Crossing is going to help not only the people in Cowarts but all the surrounding counties, because they are going to employ so many people,” said Cowarts city council member Wallace Odom.
Many leaders agree, Country Crossing will have a positive effect on the wiregrass.
“This is great, this is one of the greatest things to come to Houston county and the surrounding area,” added Odom.
“There's almost 2,000 people working here right now putting' the final touches on everything,” said Sheldon.
Officials hope the venue will help put southeast Alabama on the map.
“Everybody's just excited I expect a big turnout tomorrow,”
Officials say so far they've had more than 2,000 requests to stay at the George Jones Possum Holler Bed and Breakfast.
It's completely booked for the entire month of December and half of January.
As for what will be included in phase two of the project, Country Crossing officials are keeping it all a surprise.
Officials expect 2.5 million visitors annually and say the project will create more than 5,000 jobs over the next 3 to 5 years.