New Dothan Park Will Improve Community

By: Patrick Claybon
By: Patrick Claybon

Demolition of an abandoned school building in one Dothan community has left a void in the area for some time, and now, city officials are looking to fill that void with a new park.

There aren't many words that one can use to describe an unused plot of land: empty, vacant, and forgotten; however, after years of neglect, the piece of land off Newton Street is on its way to making change for one community.

Park Designer Maurice Head said, "A playground apparatus, a jogging trail around the park, bike rack; a symbol for the future of the neighborhood."

Gussie McMillon Park will bear the name of a former staffer of East Highland Elementary School is funded only by a $100,000 dollar community development block grant, but officials are optimistic even that can make change.

Todd McDonald, with Planning and Development said, "Develop an attraction for something that makes people want to be there, and we've always thought of Gussie McMillan has that concept to try to initialize development in that part of town."

District 2 Commissioner Larry Matthews said, "Well, with Gussie McMillan, I think it's a great opportunity for the community to be around, whether they want to sit around, or bring the family."

With just a few months until the park and playground are completed, the community is looking forward to the new facilities, and the new attitudes that it could bring to the neighborhood.

Victoria Reese, who lives near the park said to, "Create this, turn it into something nice, the houses wouldn't have to be torn down, people will move in and fix them up; make it a nice neighborhood."

Planning and Development officials are confident the park will be complete in time for its grand opening, which is scheduled for May.

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