Old Boaz outlet being converted to rec center

BOAZ, Ala. (AP) — The north Alabama city of Boaz used to be a regional destination for outlet shoppers before many of its retail stores closed. Now the town is converting one of those old outlet centers into a recreation center.

Officials gathered on Thursday in the parking lot of a former outlet store to break ground on a nearly $13 million recreation center.

The facility will include two gymnasiums, an indoor pool with eight lanes, a resort-style outdoor pool, an indoor walking track and more. Construction is supposed to be done by late 2020 or early 2021.

Boaz was a regional leader in outlet shopping in the 1980s, with buses full of shoppers descending on more than 130 stores in the city of about 9,600 people. Many of the stores have since closed.

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