Historic Downtown Revitalization Project Breaks Ground

February 06, 2024
Urban Planning Urban Design

The groundbreaking signals the beginning of a transformative urban renewal effort for the city of Dothan, Alabama.

The City of Dothan, Alabama, recently broke ground on its ambitious downtown revitalization project. The ceremony, which took place on January 16, 2024, at the historic Dothan Opera House, was attended by city and county officials, former mayors, current Mayor Mark Saliba and other community members. The groundbreaking signals the beginning of a transformative urban renewal effort championed by the City of Dothan and community stakeholders. It marks a continued partnership with RDG Planning & Design following the completion of the Wiregrass Public Safety Center in 2020. 

“It takes a commission and a community to figure out what we need for the future,” said Saliba. “I think everybody can agree revitalizing our downtown is a must, and building it around arts, culture, and entertainment makes a lot of sense. The community has to buy into it as a whole, so having everybody here means a lot and shows that we are moving in the right direction. Little by little, we are going to accomplish it, and I believe people will be happier once it’s done.”

The Dothan City Center Design and Redevelopment Plan presents a robust urban design concept that skillfully bridges the architecture of earlier times with new and varied design schemes to accommodate the revitalization of the City Center. The plan, developed in collaboration with RDG, is the result of a community-wide engagement process and reimagines the heart of downtown Dothan into a vibrant, mixed-use destination where people can live, play and work in the same area of town. 

The project begins with a significant renovation and expansion of the Dothan Opera House, which will infuse modern technology and amenities while respecting the building’s historical significance. Simultaneously, a newly constructed adjacent events plaza will become a hub for community gatherings and performances, encapsulating the project’s vision of blending functionality with aesthetic appeal. 

“Our approach to revitalizing Dothan’s downtown is holistic, focusing not only on physical infrastructure but also on fostering a sense of community and cultural vibrancy,” said RDG Architect and Principal David Streebin, AIA. “We’re honored to collaborate on a project that has been years in the making and are excited to see these plans come to fruition.”

Future project phases, including the Wiregrass Innovation Center, new municipal buildings and urban amenities, represent a broader vision for Dothan to enhance the city’s appeal and livability. Phase one is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director