Could Dothan be adding to its list of recreation facilities? We may capture a glimpse of what leaders think Friday when the Dothan City Commission conducts a work session to discuss a new track and field facility.

Track and field aficionados – and coaches of other sports – have decried the lack of an established track and field facility in Dothan for years. District 2 Commissioner Janasky Fleming, Dothan High School’s head basketball coach, noted track and field programs strengthen athletes for other sports.

“When Dothan and Northview have been the most successful in football, we’ve had track programs,” Fleming said last October. “(A) track and field (facility) will not only help track and field, it’ll help other sports.”

A facility behind Dothan Preparatory Academy is decades old, and some commissioners have listed the creation of a track and field complex as a top priority in the past few years. Last year commissioners hired a consultant to design facilities at Doug Tew Recreation Center, Rip Hewes Stadium, Walton Park and the Northcutt football field at Westgate Park.

What could benefit the case for Rip Hewes Stadium is the need to refurbish the venerable football stadium, which lacks proper locker room facilities for the large schools that utilize it. The city controls a significant amount of land around the facility, and officials have considered meshing the two projects together to save on costs.

The city also owns more than 20 acres of land around Walton Park, which would likely provide more than enough land for a facility.

Some commissioners have said an investment in a track and field facility could attract large-scale competitions to the area, increasing tourism dollars in the local economy. The meeting to discuss the facility will occur at 9 a.m. in the Dothan Civic Center.

Meter leaders: Dothan Utilities has announced which customers will be receiving the first smart meters as the city rolls out its Advanced Metering Infrastructure program.

The first phase, which begins Monday, requires the replacement of electric meters for customers on the western side of Dothan. It includes most areas south of Montgomery Highway, north of West Carroll Street and west of Oates Street.

Other phases will replace the other electric meters plus meters for DU water customers. The project, which will upgrade about 66,000 total meters, will take about two years to complete.

When electric meters are replaced, customers can expect to lose power for about two minutes, a City of Dothan press release said.

The smart meters will allow DU personnel to identify outages rather quickly while also allowing customers to continuously monitor their electric and water usage. That aspect can help customers identify costly leaks quickly.

Committee review: The Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority initiates partnerships, projects and events in an effort to encourage the revitalization of Dothan’s downtown area.

The Dothan City Commission appoints members to the board, which usually meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m. Current board members are chairman Pat Thomas, vice-chairman Mit Kirkland, secretary Susan Wilkins, treasurer Letecia Jackson, Cliff Mendhem, Bob Woodall, and Deavours Clark.

According to the city’s website, the members serve six-year terms.

Meeting schedule: In addition to the Dothan City Commission work session this Friday, the following board and commissions will meet this week:

>> Houston County Commission: 10 a.m. at the Houston County Administration Building

>> Dothan-Houston County Communications District Board: 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management Agency building

>> Dothan’s Board of Zoning Adjustment: 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Dothan Civic Center

>> Dothan’s Historic Preservation Commission: 4 p.m. Thursday at the Dothan Civic Center.

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Follow Jeremy Wise on Twitter @DEgovbeat

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