Dothan’s Strategic Plan for the Future

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For months, Dothan city leaders have been working on a plan to move the city into the 21st century.

This strategic plan is starting to come together, and city officials say it will make the city of Dothan "the most beautiful, livable city, in southern Alabama."

Dothan Mayor Pat Thomas says, "This city is really fixing to move forward."

With the help of a consultant from Florida, city officials have drawn out a plan, with very specific priorities, they say will help them make that move.

"Our number one priority continues to be long-term water," said Mayor Thomas.

Other priorities include a downtown master plan, road improvements to alleviate traffic congestion, systematically replacing public safety equipment, and supporting school reform to improve the quality of education.

Whether it is consolidating Dothan's two high schools, or something else, city leaders say education is the key to a diverse and healthy economy.

Dothan’s city manager, Mike West, says, "If we can accomplish that, it would open up opportunities for our workforce development, and opportunities to bring business and industry in, and to improve the overall quality of life in our community."

But progress comes at a price.

Most of the projects in the strategic plan would be paid for by a proposed one cent increase in the local sales tax, but the city does plan to tap in to other sources of funding.

"The major thrust of this will be a bond. We're also looking at the ability of the current budget to pay the debt service on that, as well as other options that may come along related to fees or an increase in certain taxes," said West.

City leaders also say they plan to make improvements to several different city parks, and even implement what they're calling the "clean up Dothan" program to help keep the city looking good.

The first slue of capital projects will be unveiled some time in the next few weeks and the visioning plan should be complete by January.