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Friday, March 20, 2009

Free Show This Saturday Will Celebrate Country Crossing Ground Breaking

By Anne Spencer
Contributing Writer
A free outdoor concert is set for this Saturday, March 21 in Dothan, Ala., as part of the introduction to the resort and country-music entertainment facility to be built in southern Houston County, Ala., to be known as Country Crossing.
Ronnie Gilley Entertainment has the announcement about “the Jones Jam” on its Web site and bills it as “designed to celebrate and support the premise and excitement building around Country Crossing.” The event will be held at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 231 and will feature performances by country legend George Jones and other country stars. The gate will open at noon with performances to start at 2 p.m.
Ronnie Gilley Properties, with Resorts Development Group, is planning Country Crossing as an entertainment destination similar to the one in Branson, Mo., with country music venues, hotels, restaurants, electronic charitable bingo pavilion, retail shops, a recording studio and an RV park. It will be built in stages, according to Richard Kjellander of Ronnie Gilley Properties.
Two ground-breakings have been held and another one will be this Saturday, Kjellander says. The first was held to signify Country Crossing’s overall construction on 375 acres south of Dothan, just five miles north of the Alabama-Florida line. The second one was to begin construction of the George Jones-themed Possum Holler Bed and Breakfast, which Kjellander says is back off the highway. The one this Saturday will be for the entertainment center and bingo pavilion.
Country Crossing’s development order is approved by the Houston County Commission, but there has been public controversy over the bingo component.
The developer held a rally in January featuring a free concert by Jones, Jake Owens, Travis Tritt and rhythm-and-blues artist Keyshia Cole and it was attended by thousands, according to Kjellander. Also, he says, a petition effort on behalf of Country Crossing and its economic stimulus resulted in more than 10,000 signatures.
The contractor, Alliance Construction and Integrated Services, will be hiring locally and buying materials locally, and about 1,000 people will be employed with a typical hourly wage of $12.
According to Kjellander, the scheduled opening date is May or June of this year.
If the development goes as planned, the economic impact is expected to spill over into Jackson County, its Florida neighbor to the south.
For more information on the Jones Jam and Country Crossing go to www.countrycrossingalabama.com.

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