The River Region's Wave of the Future!
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Planning for development of the Alabama Impact Crater Center in Wetumpka is progressing steadily.
The latest work on the project was a recently-completed design competition with Auburn University architecture students submitting ideas and models for a proposed interpretative center and associated structures.
The facility will highlight the 5-mile-wide Wetumpka impact crater and offer educational programs and resources similar to Birmingham’s McWane Center, with a focus on space and earth sciences.
Contest judges included faculty members from the Auburn University School of Architecture; geologist Dr. David King, who confirmed the site as an impact center; Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis and Elmore County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Barry Mask.
The center will be located on the Wetumpka Welcome Center property on U.S. Highway 231, a former state rest area.
The city received the deed to the 1967 rest area in March 2004. The property includes the 15.07 acres occupied by the rest area and another 8.30 acres between the developed parcel and an old road bed at the base of the bluff.
“This center can be big for Wetumpka, Elmore County and the entire state of Alabama,” said Lee Greer of Tallassee, ECEDA chairman.
Long-range plans call for ground to be broken on the project in late 2014. Creation of the center will provide a central facility to tell the story of the site, attracting visitors from across the state and the region to the area and educating the public about the extraordinary geologic event which formed the crater.
“It will also be used to direct visitors to other Elmore County and River Region attractions,” said Regina Edwards of Wetumpka, an ECEDA board member. “I also see this as a project with spinoffs like hotels, jobs and universities participating in research.”
The Wetumpka area is the site of the only authenticated impact crater in the eastern United States and one of just 200 such craters worldwide.
Currently the City of Wetumpka and ECEDA are working with Auburn Montgomery’s Center for Government on various grant applications for the project.
Designs for the interpretive center include museum, observatory, research facility, gift shop and more.
Winning drawings and models are currently on display in the City of Wetumpka’s administrative building on South Main Street.
A reception Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. in the city’s administrative building will recognize Auburn University staff and students involved in the project. The event will be hosted by the City of Wetumpka, Crater Commission and ECEDA.
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