A team led by a Dothan native film producer is eyeing former city school office space to repurpose for a production studio.
Stephen Durham, who recently moved back to Dothan from Los Angeles, and his team introduced 2nd Nature Films and an ambitious goal to help the city become a film production hub.
“My whole goal is to bring the film industry here,” Durham said. “Georgia’s the No. 1 filming state in the last four years. They don’t have anything that we don’t have.”
Durham, who produced the 2020 film “Army of One,” noted the studio could bring more filming to Dothan along with TV series and an education component at the high school level.
Michael Renard, a member of 2nd Nature Films, suggested that Dothan was perhaps better geographically located for filming than some of the most prevalent production capitals like Atlanta.
City Manager Kevin Cowper said he and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce have been working with the group, who approached Dothan leaders about coming to Dothan. On Monday, they were given a tour of the city and Cowper said they were very interested in the Dusy Street property that previously housed Dothan City Schools’ central office.
“We think obviously that repurposing that property for this type of use is great for Dothan, great for the economy,” Cowper said. “We think it’ll be a jobs producer and it’ll bring potentially hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars maybe, into our community.
“This is a growing sector of the economy and certainly the state of Georgia has capitalized on it and the state of Louisiana the same. And as you’ve heard them say today, there’s no reason that Dothan and the state of Alabama can’t capitalize as well. So we’re excited about the potential of this project and we’re going to keep working over the next couple of months to see if we can make this deal happen.”
Durham said 2nd Nature Films is filming this week in Dothan.
In other business, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba read proclamations for “Foster Care Month,” “Small Business Week,” and “Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.”
Cowper presented Robert Waters, Dothan Utilities lead inventory coordinator, with the “Employee of the Month” award.
In other city commission action, commissioners:
Approved Elri Parker’s application for a retail beer and retail table wine license (on or off premises) for Golden Corral.
Amended Chapter 114, Zoning, Article X, Section 114-157, Downtown Overlay District, of the City of Dothan Code of Ordinances to include more north side properties in the district.
Completed the contract with Saliba Construction Co., Inc. for the construction of a new City Operations Center, which results in a cost decrease of $17,933.71, for a final total contract amount of $1,822,025.29.
Entered into a contract with Seay, Seay and Litchfield, P.C. for a fee of $61,810 to provide architectural services for the Doug Tew Recreation Center Renovations Project.
Issued an emergency purchase order to Blankenship Contracting, Inc. in the amount of $623,976.09 for the U.S. Highway 231 North Emergency Sewer Repair and appropriated funds for said work.
Submitted the 2020 Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Annual Reports to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for the City’s three wastewater treatment plants.
Entered into an agreement with Wiregrass Realty, LLC for the lease of the Wiregrass Commons Mall Community Room as the District 6B polling location for the municipal election to be held on August 3 at a cost of $400.
Agreed to settle all claims of Ruth L. Robinson against the City of Dothan and its past and present officials, employees and agents in the amount of $60,000.
Agreed to settle all claims of Doug Tanner against the City of Dothan and its past and present officials, employees and agents in the amount of $30,000.