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Old courthouse named to house museum

It’s official — well, kind of. Linden is now the “Hunting and Fishing Capitol of Alabama!”

The self-proclaimed title was bestowed upon the city Tuesday night as Linden mayor Mitzi Gates announced the creation of the Alabama Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Museum.

“The creation of this museum will serve as the springboard for non-traditional economic development and recruitment,” said Gates. She added that it would be located inside the old Marengo County Courthouse building.

“A love of hunting, fishing and wildlife is our culture in Marengo County. In getting this museum up and running, we will be embracing our culture.”

The only problem: a lack of funds to actually build a museum. But, what Gates and others lack in financing, they make up for in determination.

“This is something that will put Linden on the map, something that will give us that ‘wow’ factor,” Gates said. “I had been looking for something that will make our ‘it,’ and I think this is a part of our ‘it’ and ‘wow’ factor.

“This is a great way to let people know, ‘Here we are.’”

Gates and Marengo County Economic Development Director Debra Fox developed the idea weeks ago and began to work with a small group of citizens to create a plan that will convert the old courthouse into the museum.

“This is a great opportunity for the county and for the state,” Gates said. “The Governor has put forth a great deal of money, time and effort into establishing the Alabama Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Trail, and we want to be a part of that.”

Article of incorporation have been filed with the state and a three-member board, consisting of Walter Tutt, Melanie Hale and Hale Smith already exists. The next step would be to develop that board into a larger board of directors and make plans on how to proceed.

“I don’t know where the funding is going to come from to restore the old courthouse, but I do believe it will happen,” Gates said.