Wiregrass Newsroom: Downtown Dothan Expecting Great Year in 2009

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Slowly but surely, downtown Dothan is back in business.   And owners couldn't be happier.

"We're excited about the coming year, and all the new businesses and growth downtown," says District owner, Ignacio Handal.

District, a nine thousand square foot restaurant and ultralounge opened in October.

"It's great to be here from the beginning to see downtown come back to life," says Handal.

A revival already making waves.  District hosted nearly 400 people on New Year's Eve.  It's solid numbers Handal hopes will continue.

"We want to see that foot traffic downtown, people walking the streets, going to the art gallery, going to The Bistro for a nice dinner and coming over here to party afterwards."

The block of North Foster street is considered by many in the downtown area to be the hub of downtown Dothan.  Leaders are using it as the basis for expansion in the rest of the area.

It's growth leaders say they worked toward last year.

"It seemed like the stars aligned in '08.   We're really excited that all our hopes and dreams came together," says Cathy Cole, a member of the Downtown Group.

With 24 committed businesses coming into the area, the key to success this year is getting the word out.

"We're planning a big billboard campaign, we're doing magazine ads, newspaper ads.   With all the new business comes new goals, and we hope to fulfill those goals in 2009," says Cole.

And one big goal?

"That foot traffic you see in any downtown anywhere across America that we haven't had, and it's good to see that starting again."

Starting again, a fitting motto for an area on its way back.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney