DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Big plans were revealed for the future of the former Grandview Elementary School and the Wiregrass Park and Recreation Center in Dothan.
With a partnership between former N.F.L. Football player, Izell Reese, Visit Dothan, and Dothan Leisure Services, the hope is to bring new sporting fields to a side of Dothan that many in the community consider underserved.
The first NFL turf field in the state, and the first to be built in a state where an NFL team isn’t based. Major renovations to the Wiregrass Park and Recreation Center and a possible YMCA are all planned for Dothan.
“Phase one is going to have large-scale initiatives that take place,” Reese said. “Multi-million dollar initiatives, the first is adding an artificial turf field.”
Right now, the 5 acres that sit behind the elementary school are empty. Soon, a brand new $1.7 million, 120-yard turf field, the size used by the NFL will occupy the space. This field can be divided into three separate 70×30 flag football fields, allowing the possibility for tournaments to be played.
Reese knows firsthand, being from the area how a project of this magnitude will help this community.
“I know there are a lot of great opportunities and initiatives on the west side of Dothan,” Reese said. However, Dothan as a whole needs to see more opportunity over here.”
In addition to the turf field, the city is also planning renovations to the Wiregrass Park and Recreation Center.
The plan, level the current baseball fields and transform them into six, 30×70 multi-purpose fields that could be used for sports like football, soccer, or frisbee.
The organizers hope the renovations will bring the opportunity to host possible tournaments like the NFL Flag Football Bowl. Altogether, with the partnership, a total of 9 fields will be built giving the opportunity for 9 separate games to be played, the perfect recipe for sporting tournaments.
Phase one also includes extending the current parking lot, constructing a new concession stand, and adding new bathrooms.
“It’s important to see what this community wants and what they would like to see or anything they feel is missing whether it be for the youth, the elderly community,” Reese said. “Everybody can be apart of this facility and also other initiatives also needed throughout the city of Dothan.”
Community officials need that input for a possible YMCA that would also be located at the center. This would bring a possible fitness center, a wellness pool, and possible classes.
This is just the first of a series of town halls that will take place, Reese tells WDHN they need as much community input as possible to make this project happen.
Officials hope to have shovels in the ground at the beginning of next year.
WDHN will keep you updated as these projects get underway.