Gulf Shores, Alabama residents are imaganing what their waterfront will look like with a new boardwalk that’s 20 feet wide and more than a half mile long.
It’s all part of a huge waterfront facelift, and that’s only the beginning.
Heavy machinery is hard at work getting started on the site preps for the fist phase of the Gulf Place Revitalization.
“This improvement includes some access management with grassy medians in the middle that provide a way for people to get across, pedestrian crosswalks, lowering the speed limit,” said Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft.
It’ll take three phases and three years to make it all happen. The city of Gulf Shores will spend $15 million. The first $4.5 million this fFall on the West Second Street parking, pavilion and changing area. “This is basically coming from the general fund and from BP settlement dollars we’ve received and accumulated for this purpose,” said Craft.
The Gulf Shores public beach-front area at the terminus of Highway 59 and Beach Boulevard is one of the City’s most prominent locations and is the center of economic activity for the community. The property currently offers a variety of activities that range from active to passive beach- and water-based recreation. The location is home to festivals and sports events, and provides access to dining, shopping, and other tourism-supported businesses. Annual events held at the public beach attract over 350,000 visitors and generate an estimated regional economic impact exceeding $100,000,000.
Public access and pedestrian safety are critical to the economic success of the region moving forward. In an effort to activate, revitalize, and efficiently manage this important community resource the City has developed a master plan for redevelopment of the beach-front area known as ‘Gulf Place’. The overall vision of this comprehensive plan is to develop the public beach area into a safe, accessible, family-friendly destination that serves different activities and acts as a catalyst for economic development.white.jpg
The project will create public beach access areas with associated amenities and parking on the east and west sides of the City’s public beach area. Amenities will include a public boardwalk on the beachside of the parking areas and public green space, walking paths, shade structures, restrooms, and attractive landscaping. Sustainable and low-impact development strategies will be major components of the project, including on-site stormwater management and reuse.
Beach dune restoration will be incorporated into the design to provide habitat and protection from storm surge. The project will activate the downtown area through beach connectivity and preserve, enhance, and frame important views to the Gulf. It will create public activity areas at the beach and provide a pedestrian-scaled environment that is safe and walkable.
It’s about making this the center piece of Gulf Shores and making it user-friendly and appealing.