City moves forward with recreational projects

Published 08/05 2014 06:26PM

Updated 08/07 2014 05:31PM

It's a step forward in several city recreational projects.

Today the Dothan City Commission approved funding for a park and two new pools.

Projects totaling more than sixteen million dollars and include six baseball fields and softball fields for James Oates Park, a recreational pool at the Andrew Belle Community Center and new wellness pool at Westgate Park.

"I'm excited we moved forward. These are three worthwhile projects, from the senior citizens, the wellness pool, to Andrew Belle,” said mayor Mike Schmitz.  “It affects 1,300 children.  I think that's going to be awesome.”

City officials expect contractor bids on the projects by the end of this fall.  They say construction could begin on the projects between January and February, and could take up to three years to complete them.

City commissioners also voted today to accept funding toward the recreational projects.

The Dothan Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving two million dollars toward the construction of James Oates Park, and the Wiregrass Foundation will contribute $500,000.00 toward the construction of the Andrew Belle pool.

Community leaders say it's a worthwhile investment to boost local tourism.

"Tourism employs over 2,600 people in Houston County, so it is a major economic industry,” said Bob Hendrix with the Dothan CVB.  “And it also is economic development, big time.  So this is great for the city, and it also enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Dothan at the same time.  So it's a win-win for everybody."

The city is footing most of the bill for the projects, but city officials say funds are available to cover the balance.

They also say, with help from these local organizations, they expect no outstanding debt left over for the tax payers.

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