Daphne to approve more funds to fix “Gator Alley”

DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) – An important vote is scheduled Monday night to help fund repairs at a big tourist attraction in Baldwin County that’s been shut down since the spring floods.

It’s called “Gator Alley.”

Gator Alley is a boardwalk that goes through D’Olive Creek in Daphne where people can see alligators in the wild.

But, the boardwalk has been closed since a section of the structure was washed away during heavy rains this past April.

DEBRIS FROM HEAVY RAIN

Daphne Public Works Director Richard Johnson said, “A lot of debris came down D’Olive Creek during the flood event of the 29th and 30th, and it started collecting on the structure itself.”

Since then, there’s a been a “Do Not Enter” sign on the boardwalk.

Daphne city officials first turned their attention to getting roads re-opened, which was a higher priority.

But Monday night, the city council is set to vote on awarding a contract to get the pedestrian bridge repaired.

FEMA PICKING UP MOST OF COST

Johnson said, “The low bid came in a little over $130,000. That’s the total cost of the repair and replacement project to fix it like it was new, and we’ll be participating with FEMA through public assistance, and they’ll be matching 75% of that cost.”

There’s no entrance fee, so the park doesn’t directly generate money for the city, but visitors to the park walk to businesses nearby.

Johnson said, “It attracts visitors. It attracts citizens. Its just a big draw.”

SPOTTING A GATOR

While we were on the scene watching a six foot gator swim in the creek, we met Robert Miller and his son, Dale, from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dale saw a gator from an upper floor hotel window.

When asked what it looked like, Dale Miller said, “It was black.”

Robert Miller said, “He (Dale) was just asking about that. He asked, ‘Are there gators down here?” (I said) ‘Oh, yeah, they’re down here.’ And, then, he sees one.”

In fact, Johnson said there used to be another gator here that became quite popular.

He said, “For a couple of years, we had a female alligator that was 11 to 12 feet that lived here and nested here for a good long time.”

TIMETABLE

Soon, the gators of D’Olive Creek should get a little more company.

City officials said they hope to have the contract signed Tuesday, with work to begin next week, and be finished in about 30 days.

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