The video below is a descriptive video serving to discuss the project as a whole. Check out our updates taken on February 7th, 2017. UPDATED GULF PLACE VIDEO
Those who live in or have visited Gulf Shores, Alabama can tell you that this small town is easily one of the most beautiful areas on the entire Gulf Coast. Emerald-green waters, white-sand beaches, and the breathtaking Gulf Shores State Park combine to make Gulf Shores a very popular area for both individuals looking for a primary or secondary residence and visitors looking for a memorable beach vacation. In fact, the town heavily relies on the tourism industry, which generates about 62% of Gulf Shores’ annual revenue. Each year, annual events such as the Hangout Music Festival, attract over 350,000 tourists and creates an economic impact exceeding $100 million. Given this, it’s no wonder that the city has decided to revamp its image and functionality by launching the Small Town, Big Beach Vision 2025 for Sustainability. One of the major goals of this project is to make Gulf Shores the most desirable small town in the American South for both tourists and potential residents by 2025. Perhaps the most important part of this project is the Gulf Place Revitalization Project.
Gulf Place is one of the most well-known areas in Gulf Shores, comprised of one of the main public beaches and home to a number of Gulf Shores condos, restaurants, entertainment venues, and shops. By using sustainable, low-impact designs, developers hope to create a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly environment along Gulf Place while preserving the natural biodiversity on the beaches and creating a safer environment for residents. A public green space, shade structures, beach dune restoration, and an expansive beach-side boardwalk are just a few of the changes this project will create in Gulf Shores.
Phase I of the Gulf Place Revitalization Project will begin on September 6, 2016. The first major area of concentration will be the West Second Street parking lot, but it will soon expand to other areas. The major improvements that will be completed in Phase I are: expanded public parking, more seating and shade along a 20-foot wide public beachfront boardwalk, the erection of a new beach safety headquarters, renovation of the public restroom facilities, and extensive landscaping to add to the area’s natural beauty. Increased beach access at the west and east ends of Gulf Place are also in the works. This portion of the project will cost $4.5 million, making it a major component of the entire $15 million Gulf Place Revitalization Project. Completion for Phase I of the Gulf Place Revitalization Project is slated for April 2017.
As mentioned earlier, city officials and developers hope that these changes, aside from aesthetic improvements, will create a more accessible, family-friendly, clean environment. One of the most economically active areas in Gulf Shores is around the intersection of Highway 59 and Beach Boulevard. The renovations planned for the Gulf Place Revitalization Project are designed to get more people in this area out walking, riding their bikes, and being more active on the beach, which could in turn help boost activity at the nearby shops and restaurants. More family-friendly beach activity areas and a new beautiful amphitheater with a stage are designed to increase both tourist and community activity and involvement in this already-popular area of Gulf Shores. The improvements planned by the Small Town, Big Beach Vision 2025 for Sustainability go far beyond improvements around public beaches, it will be exciting to see how work on the Gulf Place Revitalization Project portion changes the landscape and environment in this beautiful area of the Gulf Coast.