Downtown Dothan Revitalization: Public Forum

The city of Dothan appears to be ready to move ahead with plans to revitalize the downtown area.

Despite the fact that officials are just over a month away from unveiling a downtown master plan, some are still skeptical about the promise to bring people back downtown.

"Many times, money has been spent over and over and over again, and nothing has been done," said Frank Johnson of Dothan resident.

That is how many people feel about the city's efforts to revitalize Downtown Dothan.

The center of the city has been desolate for years, many say, because of the dilapidated look around downtown. A look some residents say must go, before downtown can thrive again.

City officials say they are taking steps to get rid of this rundown look, and that they are in the process of reinstituting a downtown redevelopment authority that would be able to condemn buildings and pull together resources to offer incentives for businesses interested in moving downtown.

City Planner Todd McDonald said, "The importance on the redevelopment authority is to bring those financial tools into focuses that aren’t in existence today, at least not at the level that they need to be."

But some people have other ideas from increasing foot traffic downtown...

Ideas like building a Dothan Marketplace, where dozens of unique goods can be sold.

"What I am proposing would draw local people, as well as people from the surrounding area, and also plenty of tourists," said Judy Davis of Dothan.

City officials say they are well aware of the situation downtown, and that they will not drop the ball as they move forward with plans for redevelopment.

While Downtown Dothan has history and culture that makes it unique, it also has crumbling buildings and parking issues, but city leaders say no matter what the obstacle, they're serious about pumping life back into Downtown Dothan.

City leaders are asking people to submit comments to the city about what they think needs to be included in this master plan, as they enter the last stretch of the planning process.

City leaders say they plan to have the finalized downtown master plan some time in January.