Wiregrass Newsroom: Houston county leaders trying to meet with Governor about Country Crossing

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Dothan and Houston county leaders scheduled a meeting with Governor Bob Riley this past week...but it never happened.

"It's just frustrating," says Houston county commission chairman, Mark Culver.

Culver says it's the second time they've tried talking with the Governor.

Culver says he does support the Governor's task force to do away with illegal gambling. He says he just wants him to know they are not trying to do anything illegal at Country Crossing.

"We just feel like the chairman of the county commission and the Mayor of the city of Dothan, and the chief economic developer for southeast Alabama ought to be able to sit down with the Governor for 30 minutes and should be able to do it without a month and a half passing," says Culver.

Governor Riley says he couldn't attend the meeting because of another engagement in Mobile--discussing the Air Force tanker project with Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha. But Riley maintains he isn't avoiding the issue.

"Anyone from Houston county is welcome at any time to come discuss whatever they want to," says Governor Riley.

The Governor's office also released this statement saying, "it is unfortunate that a conflict arose, and Governor Riley will be happy to reschedule a meeting in the near future."

Culver and other county leaders say they just want the Governor to know everything about Country Crossing.

"We may invite the Governor to come to Dothan. We want to be sure he knows the impact it's going to have on the state of Alabama and how our citizens feel about it."

And knowing that impact is something developers also want.

"It's unfortunate that our local leaders have been unable to meet with the Governor. Hopefully that meeting will take place in the near future," says Country Crossing developer, Ronnie Gilley.

Construction at Country Crossing is still moving forward as planned. Gilley says they expect to start building the first phase within the next three to four weeks. However, they've been forced to downsize the project as some investors have since pulled out.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney