The announcement of a major industry for Dothan was abruptly canceled Thursday, just hours before it was to be made. "The economic development announcement scheduled for March 1 at the Dothan Civic Center has been canceled due to the uncertainty of sequestration and the impact it will have on the Dothan community," said a brief press release from the Chamber of Commerce. It blames the sequestration that could force the Dothan Air Traffic Control Tower to close
The details of the announcement had not been made public but the industry was expected to potentially create several hundred aviation jobs. The Dothan Airport Authority and Dothan commissioners were set to vote tomorrow on incentives promised the company. It was no secret that the firm had planned to locate at the Dothan Airport where Pemco World Air Services closed up shop last year. DothanFirst.com will not reveal the name of the company at this time due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"I'm looking it as a postponement more than a cancelation," said Rep. Paul Lee who was conducting state business in Montgomery when he got the word. "It's disappointing because we've worked hard to make this happen but I'm still optimistic."
Dothan Chamber President Matt Parker echoed Lee's sentiments of optimism. "It's (sequestration) is something beyond our control," he said. "The company wants to get some clarity on the air traffic control issue but we're still moving forward to make this happen."
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said the company still wants to come and believes all of this can be resolved. "We're doing all we can to bring these jobs to Dothan." Schmitz was in contact with the governor's office late Thursday. Governor Bentley had planned to come to Dothan Friday morning for the announcement.
Dothan is one of more than 200 towers that could be shut down became of budget cuts set to go into effect Friday unless a congressional resolution can be found. No flights, including those in and out of Dothan, are expected to be affected and it's not immediately clear how the closures would affect the company planning on doing business at the airport.