Officials with the city of Dothan and Houston County have agreed that a joint emergency 911 center, combined with the EMA office, would be in the best interest for our community. The question now is where to put it.
One of the locations being considered for a new joint 911 communication center is the old Dothan City Yard. Another location being considered by board members is the Houston County Farm Center, but there are concerns about whether this building will be able to withstand a storm and still be operational. That could cause a problem, especially in hurricane country.
"Certainly we will have a proper evaluation of the facility and identify any weaknesses that it may have. And if we do decide to use that facility, we will correct those weaknesses," said Chief John Powell, of the Dothan Police Department.
Some of the other possible sites included the old fire station downtown, the old bank building on Foster Street, and the old county yard off Cottonwood Road. The major problem with building the new communication center in an empty lot like the old county yard is that it would cost more to build a new structure, than to renovate and old one. And officials say there are other factors that need to be considered.
"In relationship to structures like railroads and buildings that might actually be something that EMA would have to respond to, you don't want to put it near those," said Mark Culver, the chairman of the Houston County Commission.
City and county leaders plan to visit the 911 center in Tallahassee to gather more ideas about what the new center should look like, before choosing a definite location. The next step would be to figure out how much it would cost to build it.
There is still no word as to how much this new 911 communication center will cost, but officials do say that the price tag for this new facility will ultimately be the deciding factor, when a decision is made about where to build it.
City and county leaders hope to have some kind of proposal for the new joint 911 center, in the next couple of months.