New Dothan bike and walking route proposal moves forward - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

New Dothan bike and walking route proposal moves forward

During Tuesday's city commission meeting, the council voted to move forward on the over $500,000 project. (Source: WSFA 12 News) During Tuesday's city commission meeting, the council voted to move forward on the over $500,000 project. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) -

The ball is rolling on a new bike and walking trail on the east side of Dothan.

During Tuesday's city commission meeting, the council voted to move forward on the over $500,000 project. The bulk of the money is coming from a $400,000 federal grant awarded to the city by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The city will spend an addition $169,000 to pay for the rest of the project.

The goal is to connect the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine to the city. 

"Our students walk and have bikes and hopefully this will make them feel welcome and join us in our city," said Mike Schmitz, mayor of Dothan.

The path starts at the main roundabout on Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine's campus. Construction will begin where Old Cowarts Road meets Highway 84 and will continue about three quarters of a mile until it hits Ross Clark Circle. Craig Lenz, dean at the college, says about a quarter of students on campus bike and this will help keep them safe.

Ross Clark Circle has seen a number of deadly pedestrian accidents in the last two years.

"So many people who try to bike on the edge of a road run the risk that someone might be a distracted driver and hit them. It would encourage exercise, people getting out and moving, and community," said Lenz.

The school hopes the bike and walking route will not only benefit the students, but will help the community by drawing business to the area. 

"The west side has enjoyed tremendous economic growth over the years and we would like to see the east side grow with this project and ACOM," said Lenz.

According to the city planner, there have been no major commercial development proposals to the city for the east side of town since Dothan Village. That proposal was in 2009 and the residential and commercial development never got off the ground.

"It had a lot of promise, but that was right around when the economy tanked," said Todd McDonald, planning director with the city.

McDonald says there is a lot of space to develop on the east side of town, and he hopes projects like the bike trail are steps in the right direction to attract major developments.

"The whole idea is to get the infrastructure in place to bring development and spur development," said McDonald.

The mayor says he hopes to have the bike trail ready by the first of the year.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. 

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