Thousands of people spent Memorial Day on lakes across Alabama and some lakes appear to be seeing more people than in recent years' past. Could this be a reflection of a stronger economy?
Memorial Day marks the unofficial kickoff of summer. This year, hundreds of boats and jet skis crowded the waters of Lake Martin. Countless people kept restaurants and bars open way into the night. Jean Garrett Harris owns Chuck's Marina, a water-front restaurant on the lake and says this Memorial Day has been one of her busiest.
"Every year it seems to grow," she says. "People are discovering Lake Martin."
Those who have visited Lake Martin for quite some time tell us when the recession hit just a few years ago, the lake appeared less congested. Eddie Keithahn tells us he had to scale back during that time.
"People like me that have forty-seven foot fountains with three motors in the back had to downsize to twenty-seven foot boats and it was an inconvenience."
Prattville resident Eric Hyde says the recession caused some people to cut back on leisure activities.
"I think people spent a little less going out to restaurants," says Hyde. "They spent less coming out here on the lake but you definitely don't see that now."
Now, some people tell Alabama News Network Lake Martin is thriving. Some say there are more boats on the water than usual and business at local bars and restaurants is booming.
"You might not travel nationally or overseas but you've still got to have that family time and that community time so local recreation at the lake offers that venue for anybody really," says Harris.
"People are coming out, spending their money and having a good time," says Hyde.
The unemployment rate in Alabama is now 6.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate is 7.5 percent.