, 2022-10-21 12:52:00,
After a year of work Mobile County has reopened Escatawpa Hollow, the formerly private riverside campground it is redeveloping as a park, giving the public a taste of improvements to come to the site along the sandy beaches of the Escatawpa River.
“I am so happy to welcome you to Escatawpa Hollow Park and Campground,” County Commissioner Connie Hudson, who has championed the project, said at a brief ceremony Friday morning. “This is a very special, long-awaited occasion … The public has really been clamoring to come back out here.”
The creation of the park goes back to Escatawpa Hollow Campground, a site on U.S. 98 at the Mississippi state line that was owned for more than 30 years by Larry and Janice Godfrey. The Godfreys sold it to the county in 2019, and in spring of 2021, the county closed the park for “Phase 1A” of improvements. The work was primarily funded by a state grant of $3.5 million in GOMESA funds, money that originates with oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
Work will continue in the year ahead on remaining Phase 1A improvements – an RV campground with more than 30 pads will open in early 2023 – and Phase 2B work. The latter will include a café, a general store, a black water river interpretive center and a playground. Planned Phase 2 projects include rentable cabins, a conference center, a disc golf course, more walking and biking trails and rentals for tubing and paddling.
While that work continues, Escatawpa Hollow will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, with no admission fee.
As before, the sandy beaches are the main attraction. But now patrons can drive through the park on fresh asphalt, rather than gravel roads. New picnic pavilions are scattered along the woods aside the river. The main parking area features a brand-new restroom facility; another, with laundry and showers, serves the RV area, where landscapers were at work on Friday.
“This is only the beginning,” said Hudson. “There’s a lot more to come.”
Part of the reason it has taken this long to get to this point is that the county has negotiated the purchase of adjacent land, dramatically expanding the park’s footprint.
“What started out as 45 acres is now 200,” Hudson said. That new land isn’t yet in service. But when…
To read the original article, go to Click here