An Alabama governor’s mansion that has sat abandoned and boarded up for nearly 20 years is getting renovated thanks to money from the BP oil spill.
The mansion, built in the 1960s near the Gulf coast, was damaged in 1997 by Hurricane Danny. From that point it sat unused and vacant because succeeding gubernatorial administrations were reluctant to spend taxpayer money on repairing the two-story, 7,500-square-foot home.
But the administration of Governor Robert Bentley figured it could fix the mansion with money from the settlement BP paid after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The state expects to spend upwards of $1.8 million of the BP funds on the construction. The mansion and property it sits on are valued at about $1 million, according to the Associated Press.
The diversion of money to the mansion repairs is somewhat surprising considering Bentley’s administration claimed earlier this year that it had no money to keep DMV offices open in some of Alabama’s poorer counties. The DMV offices are the primary place voters can obtain the identification required to vote under the state’s new laws.
The renovation is projected to be done by late May, after which the state intends to use the home mainly as a tool for economic development. “Industrial recruiters in Baldwin and Mobile counties will use it primarily to lodge and entertain business executives considering the state for projects,” the AP reported.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
Alabama Renovates Abandoned Governor’s Mansion with BP Money (Associated Press)