Alabama settles lawsuit over Gulf State Park hotel

Construction has already begun on the new 350 room lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama has settled a lawsuit that challenged the use of BP oil spill funds to build a beachside hotel and conference center.

In the settlement finalized on Thursday, Alabama agreed to commit long-standing funding for beach access, dune restoration programs, an education complex, biking trails and other amenities.

The Gulf Restoration Network had sued the state over the use of the more than $50 million of early restoration funds for the 350-room hotel.

Robert Wiygul, an attorney representing GNR, in a statement said the settlement guarantees that public dollars will go to ensuring better public access to Alabama beaches.

Alabama Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship said the agreement assures those amenities will be funded.

Blankenship said the hotel is projected to open in the fall of 2018.

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