News Minute: Here is the latest Alabama news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CST
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - An energy project proposed for southeast Alabama could become the state's largest solar farm. The Dothan Eagle reports that Houston County commissioners have approved a 10-year property tax abatement for about 1,000 acres of land selected for a huge solar array. Matt Parker of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce says the move allows NextEra Energy to project its potential costs and could help land the $75 million project for the area.
GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - The public golf course is closing for good at Alabama's beachfront state park. Officials say they're shutting down the Gulf State Park course permanently on Dec. 2. Al.com reports the land will be used for other activities including hiking on what are now cart paths. Park officials plan to plant trees and mow less to let the course become additional habitat for wildlife. Shutting down the course was part of a master plan developed for the park as a new hotel was being constructed.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at solutions to the persistent problem of flooding in Jefferson County near downtown Birmingham. WBMA-TV reports that a three-year study by the agency will look at multiple options. County Commission President Jimmie Stephens says engineers have already discussed constructing retention ponds, dredging creek beds and buying some of the most vulnerable homes along the banks.
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi bank's assets will grow to more than $1 billion as it buys an Alabama bank. BankFirst Capital Corp. of Columbus announced this week that it was buying FNB Bancshares of Central Alabama, based in Tuscaloosa. Chief Financial Officer Luke Yeatman declines to say how much BankFirst is paying or if the price is being paid in stock, cash or both. Both banks are privately held. The combined bank will have more than $1.2 billion in assets and 22 offices in Mississippi and Alabama.
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