Montgomery City Council putting up to $10M toward whitewater project

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:34 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery City Council agreed to put up to $10 million toward the new whitewater rafting project on Tuesday.

In February, WSFA 12 News reported how skyrocketing construction costs and labor shortages put the project about $25 million over budget.

“We’re right at a point right now with inflation, with COVID and all these prices being increased, that we need to come to the table,” said District 5 Councilman Cornelius “CC” Calhoun.

The councilman believes it is best to finish the project rather than put it on pause, citing the value of additional tourism.

“We have people from all over the United States and the world coming here. So it’s an economic impact,” Calhoun said. “And I could just take you back when we talked about Biscuits’ stadium. No one believed in that but look at the development that it has done (in) downtown Montgomery.”

He feels the dollars are an investment into the future of Montgomery, although the mayor was quick to point out the city will not be writing a multimillion dollar check.

“Up to $10 million,” said Mayor Steven Reed. “We’re not about to write a $10 million check, so I don’t want anybody leaving out of here thinking that.”

Instead, Calhoun said the city will help pay project bills as needed.

“I think we have the funding to do the water park with something that we’re going to do at the end-of-the-year budget that we’re going to do with some fallout funds,” Calhoun said.

The city is taking further stake in the project in an aim at further developing west Montgomery and central Alabama.

On the topic of tourism, the City Council also discussed charging tourists staying in Montgomery hotels an additional $3 a night. It could help fund sports, entertainment development and infrastructure improvements. The council is sending the topic before the tourism and economic committee for review.

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