Dothan City Officials Consider Expanding Civic Center

By: Alex Zequeira Email
By: Alex Zequeira Email

It's no secret that wear and tear is what ultimately happens with age, and for the 32 year old Dothan civic center, time has taken a costly toll.

City leaders agree that repairs must be made but they also say that more must be done to keep the civic center as one of downtown's main attractions, to help kick start the regions revitalization process.

While the Dothan Civic Center is by all means the largest building in Dothan, it has quite a number of setbacks.

Over the past ten years, several studies have highlighted the civic centers inadequacy's, including a lack of meeting space, restrooms that are too small, and the absence of a kitchen that would be crucial to holding banquets or convention style events.

"We're limited by the size and that's something we cannot do anything about," said Dothan architect, Charles Waid.

But one thing that can be done is to expand the Civic Center, and build a convention center along with a hotel around it, which some say would help breath life into downtown Dothan and cultivate economic development.

"The Downtown area would cure itself because a lot of restaurants tours would line up just to find lease space... because of the inherent population that the hotel would bring to the downtown area,” said Steve Spry, Dothan’s long term planner.

Expansion however is something that needs to be considered in the future, according to some city leaders that say the number one priority right now is to fix what is already there.

"Even if you said we want a larger grander facility, at a cost of 30 to 40 million dollars, you’d still have to take care of this, because it would be year's before you could vacate and move into another facility," said Waid.

Repairing and renovating the current civic center may cost up to $1.6 million... and expanding it will cost lots more. But city officials say that investing in a larger civic center down the road, may bring in lots of private money to the downtown region, which would help stimulate a speedier downtown revitalization.

For now city officials say they will begin making the necessary civic center repairs immediately, including some door and hardware replacements as well as a repairing a drainage problem on the north side of the building.


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