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Dothan’s plan to guide 84 East development in motion
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Dothan’s plan to guide 84 East development in motion

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Dothan tapping potential of SE Health-anchored east side

Sidewalks between downtown Dothan and the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine are part of the plan to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, taking into account the growing student population at ACOM, expanding medical services, and residential development.

A plan to guide and devise strategies for development of Dothan’s Highway 84 East corridor has been set in motion.

During Tuesday’s city administrative meeting, project lead Bob Wilkerson, long-range planner for City of Dothan, recommended choosing Design Workshop to help design overlay districts along the corridor.

Overlay districts have been implemented by Dothan’s planning department in the past to create incentives and strategies for development in targeted areas, but have largely been used downtown.

Wilkerson believes the long-range 84 East Corridor Plan released in 2018 – commissioned by the city to Design Workshop – has already stimulated some development, some of which is not in line with the city’s vision.

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“With that in mind, we felt like we really needed to get this in place so that we can see this development come alive in the way that we intended in the plan and you all and the planning commission envisioned back in 2018-2019,” Wilkerson said to commissioners.

Wilkerson said Design Workshop submitted a clear proposal for the scope of work and contract negotiations will begin soon.

Todd McDonald, head of the planning department, said as many as three overlay districts could be created during the process: the college-anchored district surrounding the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; the wellness district surrounding Southeast Health; and a business and recreation centered district branching off from the immediate downtown area.

City Manager Kevin Cowper said the overlay districts are not meant to be overly burdensome to developers.

“There’s a lot happening in that corridor. We’ve done a variety of infrastructure improvements and we expect that there will be a lot of buildings to follow,” Cowper said. “This overlay district will focus mostly on the form of that development, the site design, circulation, the infrastructure, and then on the building form itself.”

The contract could be approved at the city’s next commission meeting on July 6.

Sable Riley is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at sriley@dothaneagle.com or 334.712.7915. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.

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