By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

In about two weeks, there will be an increase in the amount of police officers patrolling the streets of downtown Dothan.

The extra officers will be in place to enforce parking regulations and to help downtown flourish.

Chief Powell says that while there are parking issues downtown, more importantly there are safety concerns.

He hopes that by adding more officers to the core of downtown, we'll see an improvement on both issues.

Dothan City Manager Mike West says "Anytime the city moves forward with enforcement of parking, those doing whatever they are used to can't anymore."

Some businesses in Dothan are flourishing, and while West is pleased to see more activity downtown, he feels that downtown parking is somewhat troublesome.

"Another thing I notice downtown are people parking on the sidewalks; that’s also a no-no" adds West.

Dothan police officers are going to start taking parking violations more seriously.

That means two-hour parking spots will be strictly enforced as well as parking in fire lanes and handicap spaces.

"It’s a good thing because some people just park anywhere. Even the handicap spaces when they do not need to park there," says Zibbie Dawsey, a Houston County resident.

Bonnie Bryan, another Dothan resident feels that, “It’s a law and rule they should enforce it, and that may cut down on some of the things that go on after hours."

And, by adding more officers to the streets, that is exactly what Police Chief John Powell is hoping to do.

"We’re doing everything we can to try to make the businesses vibrant and also to ensure the public that we have a concern for their safety. We want to make sure they are as safe as they can be," Chief Powell says.

However, some downtown visitors may feel that occupying this spot for two-hours is not enough time to take care of business.

"Sometimes people want to come down with friends and have a leisurely lunch and stay longer than two hours," says Bryan.

In that case, there are some exceptions to the two-hour spots. You can park there longer after regular business hours, and on weekends.

Here is a look at the consequences you could face if you violate downtown parking rules:

*It’s a $10 dollar fine if you go over your time limit and $20 dollars if you are caught in a fire lane.

*If you're not a registered handicap driver, and you’re parked in a handicap spot, that will set you back $50 bucks.

*And as a reminder, there is plenty of downtown parking in the lots at the Civic Center and across from the police department.

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