State-of-the-art plans for Jim Oates Park

Published 08/06 2014 07:07PM

Updated 08/06 2014 08:43PM

Plans for Jim Oates Park have been underway for years, but now that the Dothan City Commission has given the green light for contractor bids, those plans are now taking shape.

City officials say it could take up to four phases to complete the complex.  Phase 1 includes a six-field baseball and softball facility and another six-field softball complex.

"We'll have four fields that will be controlled by a main control building with concession stands, and then two adjacent fields that will be controlled by their own scores booth," said Dothan Leisure Services Director Elston Jones.

Located at Taylor Road and Campbellton Highway, he says the complex will help solve conflicts with school schedules and rainouts.  And unlike the five-field clusters around the state, he says it will be the first of its kind statewide.

"If you're accustomed to going to Westgate or Eastgate Park and what you see there is great, but these buildings will be designed totally different than anything that we have in the department,” Jones said.

Current plans include a lake, which is already built into the property, a trail network, batting cages, and picnic pavilions.  Engineers call it a high-tech multi-tournament setting.

"When you come to these facilities for a tournament, you're there all day, two, three days, sometimes Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  So, of course, we want to provide all of the extra things throughout the park.  It’s going to make all the local people, as well as our guests, comfortable when they come through this facility,” said Jones.

Plans also include an activity center, corporate pavilion, community playground and maintenance facility.  The city expects a big economic impact as well.

"With the hotels, restaurants, staff, facility, and the people here in Dothan, it's just a win-win for the city of Dothan," Jones said.

And while he says one of the main goals is to attract people to the area, he says the primary goal is to serve local children.

The park is named after former Dothan Leisure Services Director Jim Oates.  Jones says he was the driving force in locating property for this and other recreational projects.

The city hopes to have contractor bids in sometime between September and October, and Jones says the city commission must vote to approve a contract before construction can begin.

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