New park primed to become a showplace for Dothan

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Nov. 22, 2016 at 5:11 PM CST
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Twelve ball fields, a pond, pavilion and more. James Oates Park is primed to become a showplace for Dothan.

Tuesday, Dothan Leisure Services Director Elston Jones presented the park’s operating plan to the Dothan City Commission.

“Our goal here today was to present James Oates Park to the Commission and then to show them the amount of operations, maintenance-wise, and the type of staff that will be necessary to maintain this park,” said Elston Jones, Dothan Leisure Services Director.

Leisure Services estimates they’ll need to hire 6 full time, 4 part time and 6 seasonal employees to staff the new park. Annual operating costs will run about $747,000, with another $250,000 needed for equipment.

However, officials say the pay-off will be worth it. James Oates will allow Dothan to compete with other cities for championship-style ball tournaments and millions in tourism dollars.

“Other cities are building facilities as we speak," said Bob Hendrix Executive Director, Dothan Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Foley, Panama City, Decatur, Florence, Montgomery, Rome, GA. They’re all adding on to their facilities, and you’re either in it or you’re not.”

City officials anticipate that hotel tax revenue alone will bring in more than three quarters of a million dollars.

And with just six to eight weeks out from completion, officials believe ‘if you build it, they will come’… with a little marketing push, of course.

“Our facilities are second to none," said Hendrix. "We have the best leisure services department in the state. And, we need to get out there and market and sell these new facilities.”

Dothan Leisure Services is planning to add the James Oates Park operating and maintenance cost proposal to the city commission agenda for the first meeting in December.