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franklin county times

Gov. Kay Ivey visits Red Bay

While speaking and touring Tiffin Motorhomes during a visit to Red Bay May 9, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey voiced her support for the State Parks Amendment, the only constitutional amendment on the May 24 primary ballot.

Passage would mean approval of an $85 million bond issue to benefit Alabama State Parks.

Ivey said Alabama’s State Parks System renovated and reopened the campground at Joe Wheeler State Park in nearby Rogersville following a devastating tornado in December 2019. The renovated campsites feature upgraded electrical service and larger pads to accommodate modern RVs.

Additionally, the system recently expanded the campground at Cathedral Caverns State Park near Woodville and added upgraded electrical service, water and sewer connections and larger pads.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship noted the recent campground improvements will accommodate modern RVs, such as ones made by Tiffin Motorhomes. In addition, voters’ approval of the State Parks Amendment May 24 will fund more campground improvements.

“We appreciate the Alabama Legislature passing the legislation to put this amendment on the ballot May 24,” Blankenship said. “We have been performing renovations and putting money back into the parks as revenue is generated; however, the need is great, and the bond proceeds will be used to bring our state parks up to the first-class products that will best serve our citizens and guests going forward.”

Blankenship said many state park campgrounds were built when camping involved a pop-up camper or tents. These campgrounds need major renovations to expand campsite pads and to upgrade electrical services to 50 amp to better meet the needs of today’s modern campers.

Funds could also be used to improve water and sewer hook-ups, provide Wifi, build cabins, replace old playgrounds and build new bathroom facilities and dog parks.

“The whole state will benefit with a yes vote on the state parks amendment,” Blankenship said.

Tiffin president Leigh Tiffin noted the company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“We now have more RV owners than ever before. Business is truly booming,” Tiffin said. “We continue to adapt to ever-growing consumer demand for the RV lifestyle. Please consider the need for more campgrounds, more RV-friendly rest areas, and please use your influence to make exploring the beautiful state of Alabama more accessible to everyone.”

Red Bay Mayor Charlene Fancher expressed her strong support for the amendment’s passage.

“I wholeheartedly join you in support of the bond issue endeavor to improve repair, renovate and enhance the 21 state parks throughout Alabama,” said Fancher, “which, in 2021, was a $375 million economic impact to our state.”

She spoke about the impact of the COVID-19, noting that during the height of the pandemic, some motorhome guests came and stayed in Red Bay for months at the time because camping is something safe to do.

“People are enjoying the great outdoors more than ever before,” added Fancher. “Alabama is blessed to have 21 beautiful state parks, and we have nine campgrounds in our area.”

She went on to explain that the potential exists to “make the state of Alabama a premier tourism destination by improving park infrastructures.”

Fancher said Wi-Fi additions and upgrades would help in taking the state parks to higher levels of modernization.

“It’s just real important that we all vote ‘yes’ on that amendment on the ballot,” Ivey said. “We have so much natural beauty here, and it’s important that we offer our citizens and tourists great opportunities to experience and enjoy it. With your support of the state parks bond issue May 24, we will soon have ribbon-cuttings on several renovated campgrounds, cabins and improved day-use areas in our 21 state parks.”

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