Gulf State Park Alabama

An Alabama House committee has approved legislation that would allow the construction of a large hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

One of the most pristine areas in Alabama, a sandy white stretch at Gulf State Park, could become the site of a large hotel and conference center.

Bills pending in the Legislature would let the state use money from BP's Gulf oil spill fund to build a conference center and let a private developer build an adjoining hotel. The Republican sponsors, Sen. Trip Pittman and Rep. Steve McMillan, said the goal is to create an upscale site on the Alabama coast to attract conventions like those drawn to Sandestin in the Florida Panhandle.

Officials are planning something new next year for visitors to Gulf State Park: Beer at the fishing pier. reports ( ) that Gulf State Park Superintendent Lisa Laraway told Gulf Shores city officials that the concession area is being upgraded at the pier.

The improvement includes a plan to begin serving beer, although city officials refused a liquor license that would have allowed the pier to also serve wine and frozen drinks.