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Disney-style resort coming to the Gulf Coast

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is planning an amusement park in Foley, Ala., that could include a roller coaster. This particular roller coaster was under construction in Dubai in 2016.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is planning an amusement park in Foley, Ala., that could include a roller coaster. This particular roller coaster was under construction in Dubai in 2016. AP File

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has revealed details about a major amusement park, called Owa, designed to cater to families that travel to the town’s sports complex for ball tournaments.

Owa, the news release says, means “big water” and references a 14-acre lake that will serve as a park centerpiece. A Marriott Town Place Suites hotel with 150 rooms also is planned. The park will sit on 520 acres next to Foley’s sports complex, which has 16 outdoor fields and an indoor events center.

Foley Mayor John Koniar has said the park will possibly feature one of the largest roller coasters in the southeastern United States.

“For every visitor, Owa will provide a top-notch experience,” said Tim Martin, president of Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority, which is developing the property. “It is an added benefit that families who come to Foley for sporting events will also have all of Owa’s offerings available to them. We believe that this is a winning combination that will have families coming back to Alabama for years to come.”

The property, nine miles from beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, is just off the Foley Beach Express.

“We are happy to offer visitors to our area a one stop, family-friendly destination that is near the beach but will provide another option, for not only overnight visitors, but those looking for a day trip getaway,” Koniar is quoted as saying in the news release.

Konair has described the park as a cross between Six Flags and Disney World, leaning more toward the Disney design aesthetic. The complex will have the feel of a small Southern town, including distinct districts planned.

The park is expected to open in the summer of 2017. Expansion plans are already being made for a waterpark, more hotels, condominiums and an RV park.

The Poarch Band says the total investment will be $500 million.

The tribe is part of the Creek Nation. It also owns a casino site on the west side of Interstate 110 in D’Iberville. No development plans for the site have been announced. The tribe owns one casino in Atmore, Alabama, and two in Montgomery, but the Foley site can not be developed for a casino because it is not on federal Indian land.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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