Sun Apr 19 10:49:20 PDT 2015
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Rezoning Dothan's Historic District
Blake Benberry

"You have to have a team who knows what they're doing and has done it before. Our group and partnership hosts over 1,000 different housing and low-incomes throughout the Southeast,"says Jansen Tidmore, Executive Director, Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority. Tidmore is referring to a senior housing development in the old Howell School on East Newton Street in Dothan. But some say it's not the quantity, but quality that matters and those living in the neighborhood say they know what's best for them... "the D.D.R.A. is not even from this community. They're from downtown and this is not downtown. This is the Historic N.B.C.A.R. Historic district, so Iā€™m trying to figure out where is the inclusion,ā€ says Larry Johnson, Advisor of N.B.C.A.R. Historic District. Some residents of the Historic District say they are not completely opposed to a senior housing facility being built within their community. They say they just wanted to be included in the conversation to voice some of their concerns. "You've moved from the downtown to the Historic District. Let's say you want to partner up and get together some ideas with members from the N.B.C.A.R. District and then you team up with the developers and the D.D.R.A then we partner up and then we say what will work here," says Johnson. "We've met with them. We've hosted community meetings in the Cherry Community Church. We've hosted a second community meeting... There's been opportunities,ā€ Tidmore says. While providing additional homes to senior citizens is a good thought, some members say this project could neglect other parts of the community. Bringing a downtown zone into a historical zone is not on their list. "We're not opposed to a development but what we are opposed to is developers who don't look at the community to see what can be done to help the community also," says Edward Vaughn. Ed Vaughn is president of N.B.C.A.R.--a group that is trying to preserve the historic nature of the neighborhood that includes... East Newton, Burdeshaw, Cherry, Adams, and Reeves streets. "If it's all we can get we will accept it., but what we will not accept is moneys that are generated from the project to not benefit the community,ā€ Vaughn says. Benefits like better jobs, re-development of already existing homes and developments for the youth some members believe should be at the top of the list. "The developer asked to meet with us and we do intend to meet with the developer and I think we could probably work something out, but we got to have something for the community," Vaughn says.

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