Last Minute Preparations For Bass Pro Opening In Prattville - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Last Minute Preparations For Bass Pro Opening In Prattville

One day before Bass Pro makes a splash in Prattville, hundreds of workers spent the day putting on the finishing touches.

"I'm a little nervous," said Bass Pro general manager Shane Whittemore.

For Whittemore sleep has been a precious commodity in the last 30 days.

"Hopefully I'll get some rest after Sunday when all the grand opening festivities end," Whittemore said.

Landing Bass Pro Shops was a real coup for Prattville. Inside, a waterfall two stories high, huge fresh and saltwater tanks, murals on the wall, the place is the size of two football fields.

But it's a catch that 's coming at a price. The overall sales tax just at Bass Pro will be 10%. The city tacked on a one-and-a-half percent 'user fee' to the 8-and-a-half percent sales tax to help Bass Pro pay off the $25 million dollars it borrowed to build the store.

The mayor says despite the complicated arrangement, the city will begin receiving a portion of that 8-and-a-half percent tax right away. Once Bass Pro pays off its building loan, the 'user fee' will come off.

"I am very much at peace with this," said Prattville Mayor Jim Byard.

Despite the criticism from more than a few in the community, the mayor has no regrets.

"As an elected politician, anytime you make a decision you're going to upset a few folks. But Bass Pro will quickly become a tourist destination and we'll have people driving from all around to visit," Byard said.

With the grand opening, there is the potential problem of snarled traffic. One estimate has the crowd of around 15,000, maybe more.

"We will have a handle on traffic. We'll take control of Rocky Mount Road which runs in front of Bass Pro and we'll have a lot of people park on that road," said Chief Alfred Wadsworth.

Much like the heat, the Bass Pro company seems to be cooking.  Prattville officially welcomes store number 44 at the grand opening Wednesday night at 6.

In all 300 people have found jobs at Bass Pro and store officials say they'll all be paid well- above minimum wage.

Meantime, Prattville isn't the only Alabama town Bass Pro will call home. There are plans to build another store in Spanish Fort near Mobile.

Reporter: Bryan Henry

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