By Rhiana Huckins

“This is going to be I think one of the biggest, most wonderful things to happen to all of us- especially the folks here, around Dothan,” says George Jones.

Jones was proud to announce that his name will be part of the first business to hit country crossing.

During a time when some struggle to find work, developer Ronnie Gilley has employed 200 people including a general manager of George Jones Possum Holler Bed and Breakfast.

Follow up:

“Over the next 10 to seven years, we are looking at employing more than 6,000 people and that is significant for this part of the state,” says Developer Ronnie Gilley.

The project has hit many hurdles ever since it was announced in February 2008.

The biggest one being support and legalities of the bingo pavilion at the entertainment complex.

“Our contractual agreement with the Houston County Commission demands that we generate an expansion of trade and commerce. It’s not limited to a bingo pavilion,” says Gilley.

Country crossing is expected to be completed in various phases across the 375 acre piece of land over the next seven years.

Developers predict it will create $5.4 billion in new sales revenue over the next 10 years, and generate $2-5 million annually to local charities.

“We feel very strongly that this project will have a huge impact on the area and are happy to see it physically move forward” says Mark Culver, Houston County Commission Chairman.

Possum holler bed and breakfast is expected to open in five months. And one month after that, the electronic bingo facility should be open.

There will be a groundbreaking for that on Saturday March 21st at 10:30 p.m. with a George Jones concert to follow.

Gilley says that he is supporting a piece of legislation that will define electronic bingo.

Establish a state gaming commission to regulate bingo, and impose a tax on bingo revenue to help both the state’s education trust fund and general fund.