DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — For years, Daphne’s waterfront has been underutilized. Aside from a few parks, mostly homes fill the landscape along Mobile Bay, blocking public access.
“We do have waterfront access — you don’t just have to go to Fairhope,” said Mayor Robin LeJeune.
That’s the message he’s wanting residents and visitors to hear even more so in the coming years as Bayfront Park receives a facelift. Plans are already in the works to recreate the space, starting first with new parking along Bayfront Park Drive .
“We’ll be going to out to bid in January or February for that,” he said.
Closer to the bay, an amphitheater is planned where the old community center once stood, and a major pier expansion will take guests from the park over to a beach access area. Mayor LeJeune says the city also has already taken steps to buy neighboring land.
“We want to preserve Bayfront. We’ve made purchases and bought additional Bayfront property to preserve, not to build on,” Mayor LeJeune said.
The updated park will come at a price. Mayor LeJeune says the city has already allocated money for the project, but he hopes to secure RESTORE Act funding and use money from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, or GOMESA, funding that was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey last month.
“We assume somewhere in the $10 million range, give or take less or more. It all depends because we are so early in the process of design, permitting and that type of thing,” he said.
He expects the full project to take several years to complete.