Today was a step forward in plans to construct James Oates Park near Campbellton Highway and Taylor Road.
The City of Dothan Planning Commission voted to approve the first phase of the 87-acre park with 858 parking spaces.
Phase one of the project includes multiple baseball and softball complexes, parking lots and restroom concession buildings. It also includes lush landscaping and improvements to one of the ponds on site.
But this was no home run for some people living near the site. They were concerned the quiet field in their backyards could soon become a nuisance.
"We just needed issues to be addressed, such as a fence barrier to go against our property, since parking lot is in my property to begin with, and on the back side," said Glady Rudd, who lives next to the site.
"I spoke with them about the flooding issue and the traffic issue, because when you build property or when you do any type of development, There's always an uplift or an elevation in the property,” said John Quarles, who also lives next to the proposed park."
Flooding, noise and traffic congestions were a few of the issues. But they say their concerns were addressed, and they hope to see the project move forward.
"We want to address their concerns, let them know that we hear them loud and clear,” said Aaron St. Pierre, project manager with Lose & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm overseeing the project. “Because this is a city project, we want to make sure that the city heard them loud and clear and that we will do everything we can in order to address their concerns."
Those overseeing the project say construction could begin as soon as this summer. Planning commission members say the deadline to start construction expires in one year.
And they say the project sets the stage for future trails and other plans down the road.
However, the City of Dothan Commission must approve the project before construction can begin.