CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER AUBURN — The city of Auburn will welcome Alison Hall as its new Parks and Recreation director in March. A seasoned parks and recreation professional, Hall comes to Auburn from the city of Dothan, where she has served as Leisure Services director since 2020. Hall has served in a variety of roles throughout her 25 years in the parks and recreation field. A Dothan native, she began her parks and recreation career in Auburn. After graduating with a bachelor’s in government from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, she moved to pursue a master’s in public administration at Auburn University. Hall worked for the city of Auburn’s finance department during graduate school and became the city’s first cultural arts director in 1999. She managed and directed programs and events at the then-newly constructed Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, and she co-founded Auburn CityFest, the city’s largest outdoor arts and crafts festival that will celebrate its 23rd year in April. She held various positions in the department over a 21-year span, overseeing Auburn Parks and Recreation’s community programs and special events, including programming for seniors and residents with special needs. In 2011, she began overseeing the city’s recreation and aquatics facilities. Along with her service through Auburn Parks and Recreation, Hall invested in the Auburn community off the job. She was an active board member and former board president for the United Way of Lee County, and she served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County and the Kiwanis Club of Auburn. In Dothan, she led a department of more than 300 employees and oversaw the management of more than 1,250 acres of park property, including 43 baseball/softball fields, 17 playgrounds, six pools and 22.5 miles of trails. During her tenure, Dothan Leisure Services hosted more than 45 athletic tournaments each year. Hall’s time as director brought with it significant upgrades to athletic facilities, recreation center improvements, program expansions and more. She worked with the Dothan Chamber of Commerce, Visit Dothan and RCX Sports to bring the country’s first-ever NFL Flag Football facility — outside of a city with a local NFL team — to Dothan’s Grandview Field. Using the new field and other parks, Dothan Leisure Services hosted the NFL Flag Super Regional Tournament in December, bringing in more than 60 teams from across the country. The department also recently completed a major three-phase renovation project at Dothan’s Rip Hewes Football Stadium, which has been in use since 1964. Later this year, the renovated facility will become home to a minor league soccer franchise, the Dothan United Dragons. Other projects included converting an old recreation center into a full therapeutic programming center and significant improvements to the city’s water park, which saw its most successful season to date in 2023. “My time in Dothan has given me a much broader grasp of parks and recreation as a whole,” Hall said. “I’ve had the opportunity to see how athletics and different divisions operate and work together, how to stretch dollars, how to evaluate facility needs, forecast budgets and work with other departments to accomplish exciting things together. We’ve just tried to meet as many needs as possible in the community.” She graduated from the Leading, Educating and Developing Program from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service in 2017, and she was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, District V in 2018. She also holds the Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) designation. “I am thrilled to welcome Alison Hall back to the city of Auburn to lead our dynamic and growing Parks and Recreation Department,” said City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch. “Between her vast experience in the field and her passion for serving the Auburn community, I look forward to working alongside her to elevate even further the quality and number of recreational opportunities available for our residents.” For Hall, returning to Auburn is a chance to fulfill her goal of investing in the community to her full potential. “I have been fortunate in my life to call two places home,” Hall said. “Dothan is where I grew up, but I spent just as much time in Auburn. It’s unique when you can go to both of your homes and have an impact.” While she is excited to hit the ground running, Hall plans to begin her time in Auburn by listening to the needs of the community and working with city leadership, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Parks and Recreation staff to chart a path forward. “Auburn is growing, and it’s so ripe for athletics, events, aquatics and programming for therapeutics and seniors,” Hall said. “It’s exciting to know the city wants to invest in all of that and bring new offerings for citizens, because they’re hungry for it.”