Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he expects a Gulf State Park Conference Center to be open by 2018.

The state has secured $135 million for the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project that includes the convention center along with a hotel, dune restoration, walking and biking trails and other projects at Gulf State Park.

Alabama received $85.5 million from early restoration dollars, funds BP established to start money flowing to the coast. Another $50 million from BP’s direct payments to the state will provide the final piece of the funding puzzle, Bentley said.

The construction of the conference center and hotel would occur within the footprint of the previous venue destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

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