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Land deal to open public access to Mobile waterfront

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s port city has long lacked public access to much of its waterfront because of shipping wharves and industry along the Mobile River and Mobile Bay, but a new deal could open up more space for residents and tourists to get near the water.

Mobile officials and Gov. Kay Ivey last week announced a partnership between the city and the state to purchase bayfront property near downtown owned by the University of South Alabama Foundation.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson told a news conference the agreement will allow for the creation of public access along the Mobile Bay waterfront and preservations of wetlands. The city parks and recreation agency will manage the area, he said.

“This is a truly transformational purchase that will impact Mobilians for generations to come,” Stimpson said Tuesday.

The roughly 300-acre Brookley by the Bay property sits along the western shore of Mobile Bay east of Brookley Aeroplex, where Airbus makes jetliners. The land will cost $33 million, with a $9 million option to purchase more acreage within five years, WALA-TV reported.

Almost 150 acres of land is being set aside for economic development to ensure Brookley Aeroplex has “a great opportunity to sustain the growth that will one day make it the world’s fourth largest site for the construction of commercial aircraft,” Stimpson said.

While plans for the land haven’t been finalized, Ivey called the development a “win-win” that would help change the face of Mobile.

“It will also preserve our natural wetlands and ensure that future generations of Alabamians will always be able to experience the beauty and wonder of Mobile Bay,” she said.

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