DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Now that we know the city of Dothan’s big plans, the question on many people’s minds is: how exactly does the city plan on accomplishing its visions for the future of downtown Dothan?

The plans are to bring a brand new arena that will replace the 50-year old civic center, with a facelift to the Dothan Opera House and the construction of a new ‘Wiregrass Art and Innovation Center.’

Renovations to the historic Opera House and the construction of the brand new ‘Event Plaza’ are all part of Phase One of Dothan’s plans to bring a new vision to downtown.

The project, which will evolve over several years, will bring a vision that the city believes will attract people to move and stay in the Circle City.

“The city is firmly committed to the project and I think the community is committed to the project,” Dothan’s City Manager, Kevin Cowper said. “So yes, it’s going to happen.”

In the first part of this project, creating a new ‘Event Plaza’, to make way, the city will have to re-locate Dothan Utilities to another downtown location.

An envisioned amphitheater and green space will be a part of ‘Event Plaza.’ Scout Lane Alley, which is behind Foster Street, will be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly space.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to deliver the project, but the first step is making sure everyone is engaged and that everyone is on board with the vision,” Cowper said.

In addition to the first phase of the vision, a new three-story lobby that connects to the Dothan Opera House will provide space for gathering. According to Cowper, it will give the Opera House a presence on Main Street, while keeping intact part of Dothan’s history.

“We think it embraces our history,” Cowper said. “Certainly at Popular Head Park in preserving the Opera House for example that is preserving the community’s heritage.”

This project will require financial resources at the city, county, and state levels. The county has plans to fund $1,000,000 for ‘Event Plaza.’ The city has already begun putting in applications for federal grants. Dothan is also partnering with the Wiregrass Foundation, with private donations being a definite possibility.

At this time, Cowper said the city already has an interest in a boutique-style hotel and other private mix-use development.

“In addition to that, private development interests, so that hotel and other mix-use that will all be done privately, and we have certainly had an interest in those opportunities,” Cowper said.

As for the costs for the first phase, the city will be working on specific designs and getting those estimates which will take till the end of the year. With plans to start construction at the beginning of next year.

Dothan officials believe this vision will not only benefit the people living here five to ten years from now, but rather for generations to come.