Fmr. mayor: Industry will solve Dothan job loss crisis

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL (WSFA) – In the past few weeks, the Dothan area has seen one economic blow after another.

Temporary or not, with the closing of Country Crossing's, and now the imminent shutdown of the Sony Plant, hundreds of folks are now without a job.

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said, "It's created a significant issue as far as unemployment in our area."

The loss of the Sony Plant is especially hard for Former Mayor Jimmy Grant.

"I remember years ago how hard that we worked to get them here," said Grant.

Grant was the mayor when the Sony plant opened in the Circle City.

He says getting it there was no simple task, and it took a team effort.

Grant said, "The Chamber of Commerce, the City of Dothan, the Commissioners, the City Engineers—everyone got involved."

Now, he says it's time to work together again to bring industry to the area.

"We've really got to get some industrial jobs in Dothan, " said Grant.  "We cannot live on service alone.  Because when you get industrial jobs, you create other jobs, and it just continues on."

"It's something that were focused on," said Mark Culver.  "We're going to get out there and do everything we can to provide good jobs for the folks we represent."

City and County leaders agree that building up the workforce has become the number one priority.

Grant said, "With these industries closing up, and I'm afraid more are going to close, we need to do something."

And with a soon-to-be empty Sony building, Grant says leaders have the chance to do just that—to be aggressive in finding a new opportunity for the space.

It's something he hopes is the first step to getting the unemployed back to work.

Po Folks, another long-time business in Dothan, also shut its doors this week.

The 20 employees there say the closing came without warning.

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