The City of Dothan unwittingly chose Jan. 16 for its first meeting to get input from residents about improving the Highway 84 East Corridor. A winter storm swept through Dothan that night, yet remarkably nearly 100 citizens showed up eager to start brainstorming a master plan for the corridor.
Lead project consultant, Houston, Texas-based Design Workshop Inc., conducted a “values” workshop to garner the likes and dislikes that participants expressed for the Highway 84 East Corridor. This busy corridor connects three major activity points – the downtown and two major medical campuses. Improving the aesthetics of the area and providing better connectivity among these major activity nodes topped the citizens’ list of concerns.
“No. 1 was improving visual appearance, with citizens saying that the corridor is not pretty,” says Dothan’s long-range planner Bob Wilkerson. “There was also a very high response for mixed-use development, and for more restaurants and retail downtown.”
Citizens also want Highway 84 more pedestrian and bike friendly with additional pedestrian crossings. They also voiced a desire for downtown residential housing and more natural elements – a “greening” of the corridor.
Another workshop is tentatively scheduled for March 6 called “Corridor Visioning.” This next workshop will build on the ideas and concerns expressed by the citizens at the January meeting. Additional workshops will be held as the development of the master plan progresses.
The pros and cons of the Highway 84 corridor were also identified last year at DesignAlabama’s 11th annual Mayor’s Design Summit. Steve Stone of dakinstreet architects in Mobile was the design professional paired with Dothan.
“The Highway 84 corridor serves as a great artery to shuttle people to the medical campus, but it also cuts the downtown in two,” Stone observes. “One thought was to use traffic-calming methods to slow traffic down intentionally, but that sometimes proves difficult on state or federal roads.”
Stone says revitalizing its downtown was Dothan’s primary focus at the 2017 Mayor’s Design Summit.
“There is a need to provide more public-private partnerships to inject both businesses and residents back to the core, which has been decimated over the past decades. This includes wayfinding and promotion to try to steer passers-through to actually come into the core instead of driving around it on the ring road.”
Another issue brought up at the Mayor’s Design Summit was how to connect Dothan’s extensive recreation network. “They have a large Forever Wild area nearby,” adds Stone, “along with a burgeoning youth sports industry.”
Image 1: Residents braved a winter storm Jan. 16 to attend the first meeting held by the City of Dothan to get input about making improvements to Dothan’s Highway East Corridor. Despite the weather, nearly 100 citizens showed up eager to brainstorm a master plan for the corridor.
Image 2: Lead project consultant, Design Workshop Inc., conducted a “values” workshop to determine what residents like and dislike about the Highway 84 East Corridor, which connects three major activity points – the downtown and two major medical campuses.
Image 3: At this first meeting, citizens expressed the desire for improving the visual appearance of the Highway 84 Corridor. They also want mixed-use development and a master plan that calls for making the corridor more pedestrian and bike friendly.
Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of the City of Dothan (please note that images may appear different in different browsers or on different devices)