Montgomery city and county officials and business leaders broke ground Thursday on a major project that will bring recreational amenities, entertainment and retail to a site along the Alabama River, just west of downtown.
Montgomery Whitewater will feature freshwater rafting, kayaking and canoeing, as well as zip lines, hiking and mountain biking trails, and ropes courses. The 120-acre recreation and entertainment complex is slated to have a conference center, restaurants and facilities to accommodate a variety of activities, including live music and day camps, that will draw residents and tourists.
Gov. Kay Ivey, Montgomery Mayor Steve Reed and Montgomery County Commission Chair Elton Dean were among the officials participating in the groundbreaking before a large crowd of well-wishers.
“Montgomery Whitewater will reinforce the fact that the River Region offers a high quality of life while also acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth in the area,” Ivey said. “This is a game-changing project for Montgomery, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.”
“This is an exciting day for our region,” Dean said. “Montgomery Whitewater is the type of forward-thinking, quality-of-life project that will grow our population base and attract new visitors, creating additional revenues and opportunities for new and existing small and minority-owned businesses.”
Reed called the project “a milestone for Montgomery” and “a catalyst to transform our city and this entire region.”
Developed by Southern Whitewater Development Group, construction is expected to employ 640 people, with a $39.8 million economic impact. The economic impact from operations is estimated at more than $35 million a year.
JESCO Inc. Construction has been tapped as construction manager by the Montgomery County Community Cooperative District, a board of community leaders formed to oversee construction of the development.
“So many have dreamed big to make today a reality,” said Leslie Sanders, vice president of Alabama Power‘s Southern Division and chair of the cooperative district. “Our partners were bold enough to trust in an idea which will truly transform Montgomery and will add to Montgomery’s growing legacy as a visitor destination.
“The elements to be included in this project will provide unmatched recreational and training opportunities for those in our area but will also attract people from across the United States and the world,” Sanders said.
Officials broke ground on the long-anticipated Montgomery Whitewater project. (Sara Herman / Alabama NewsCenter)
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed speaks at the Montgomery Whitewater groundbreaking. (Sara Herman / Alabama NewsCenter)
Also supporting the project is the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which has significant hotel and gambling operations in the Montgomery area and in south Alabama.
“The Tribe is committed to supporting and growing Alabama’s tourism and hospitality industry, and we believe Whitewater will be instrumental in attracting new sports tourism dollars to the state,” said Stephanie Bryan, the Tribal chair and CEO.
“We are proud to have invested in the project, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will
have on Montgomery and our state,” Bryan said.
For more information about the project, visit www.montgomerywhitewater.com.