Ronnie Gilley's Letter to Governor Riley on Country Crossing

Country Crossing Music Park threatened by Alabama Governor

rally photo


Ronnie Gilley read this letter to Alabama Governor Bob Riley at a rally held in response to the Governor's announcement of the Task Force to Stop Illegal Gambling.

Read the article on the rally here

The plans for the country music entertainment complex in Dothan AL were threatened recently by the questionable timing of the Governor's somewhat vague announcement of the task force.

The Country Crossing development project calls for electronic bingo as an economic facilitator to fund the music park to completion. The Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling was perceived as a direct threat to the project.

Here is the letter as read to the rally supporters on 01/10/09:

Dear Governor Riley,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Ronnie Gilley from Enterprise Alabama. I am one of your fellow Alabamians who wants nothing more than to create opportunity here in the Wiregrass where I was born and still live.

I have put together a plan to do that and to do it without the kind of massive incentives that I have watched Alabama time and time give to numerous non-Alabama corporations. My company is an Alabama corporation who has paid Alabama taxes and employed Alabamians for years and years. I am willing to tell you these things about Country Crossing that you may not be aware of.

We commend you on the work you have done to improve Alabama's image and to make it the destination spot for businesses and visitors. We share your vision and like you have been working hard to achieve it.

Over and over national and international spotlights have recently been shining on our state and the stars who are gathering in Southeast Alabama. Last June over 218,000 people passed through the gates of BamaJam and saw firsthand what the stars have seen. That is not our grandparents Alabama. Before we are through, millions upon millions more will visit our state. And once they visit and meet our people they will return again and again, spending billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs.

When you announced your gaming task force, the sweeping general statements you made about this mission jeopordized this very project. I hope this was unintentional. We share your belief that illegal gambling should be driven out of Alabama and wish you and Mr. David Barber well as you seek to do that.

Electronic bingo is not new to Alabama and it can be operated entirely and consistently within the law in a few places in our state. And Houston County is one of those places. We urge you to consider what will be lost if you do not act quickly to clarify your intentions.

While our Country Crossing investors have lost much of their enthusiasm for our project as a result of the uncertainty caused by your words, those in Mississippi and others in neighboring states have been quick to step in and invite us to move this project, it's jobs, its economic benefit and its international attention to their states. Such a decision would deprive the Wiregrass of Alabama thousands of desparately needed jobs, tens of millions of local and state tax revenues and unprecendented economic expansion.

Those who know me know that I will not take the easy way out and abandon my home state unless you use the power of the Governor's office to force me out. So today we appeal to you.

Please clear the air for this powerful economic and entertainment engine to remain in Alabama. Please clarify your remarks and intentions so we can help you to reshape Alabama's image and bring prosperity to the corner of south Alabama that economic development forgot, the Wiregrass.

In this terrible time of economic uncertainty and financial crisis, we look forward to hearing from you and working with you and to placing these matters to rest so that we can fully focus on making our state's future bright. If we can provide you with any information please let us know. I and Alabama are awaiting your reply.

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