Gulf Shores looks to continue spring break alcohol ban

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 10/22/18

Following the success of previous years, the City of Gulf Shores is once again considering banning alcohol on public beaches during spring break. 

During the first several days of spring …

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Gulf Shores looks to continue spring break alcohol ban

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Following the success of previous years, the City of Gulf Shores is once again considering banning alcohol on public beaches during spring break. 

During the first several days of spring break 2016, Gulf Shores Police Department encountered numerous issues with large groups of spring breakers binge drinking, using illegal narcotics and creating a dangerous atmosphere for themselves and other visitors. The potential for large-scale confrontations with the police existed. Following the passing of an ordinance banning alcohol from the beach during spring break, dramatic improvements on the beach occurred immediately. 

The schedule of dates is a little bit longer this year. Herb Malone, President and CEO of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, said that had to do with the way Easter falls this year.

“Some schools do spring breaks on fixed weeks like the first week in March or second week in March,” Malone said. “Those don’t change year to year. A lot will take theirs either the week before Easter or the week after Easter, and those float. So, when Easter’s late like this you have to have a longer period of time.”

Malone also said the tourism bureau hasn’t seen any indication in its numbers to suggest the ban has negatively impacted the economy.

“The last few years since this has been going on, if you take March and April together, we have seen increases in lodging revenue and in retail sales in each of those three years,” Malone said. 

Mayor Robert Craft said he felt the alcohol ban has also increased the quality of visitors to the area and made Gulf Shores more family-friendly. 

Coastal Gateway Boulevard (Co. Rd. 8) improvements

The City also talked about awarding a bid to begin construction on improvements to the renamed Coastal Gateway Boulevard (formerly County Road 8).

On September 13, sealed bids were opened for the Coastal Gateway Boulevard Widening and Signal Improvements project. H.O. Weaver & Sons, Inc. (Weaver) was the low bidder for the project with a base bid amount of $8,780,222. Weaver’s bid amount for Add Alternate 1 was $345,843.26, which was also the low bid. Therefore, the total bid amount of the base contract plus Alternate 1 is $9,126,065.26. 

This project will widen Coastal Gateway Boulevard to four lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks from Hwy 59 to the Foley Beach Express. Also included are all required utility relocations along Coastal Gateway Blvd. The City is currently acquiring right of ways from the various properties along Coastal Gateway Blvd to accommodate the expansion of infrastructure. It has to date, 90 percent of the necessary right of ways and anticipates completion within the month.

Alternate 1 includes the costs associated with the traffic signal improvements at the intersection of Coastal Gateway Blvd and the Foley Beach Express. The necessary utility relocations will begin in November and the project is expected to be completed by March of 2020.