Oxford Board of Aldermen met Friday to hear the final pitches from two city-planning groups vying for the opportunity to lead “Seeing Oxford at 200.” Tuesday night, the Board held a vote of 5-0 to appoint the Orion Planning Group, led by Bob Barber, of Hernando.
“Both Orion and A2H were very good and gave us good presentations, but we decided to go with Orion,” said mayor Pat Patterson. “(Barker) is an outstanding city planner and one of the best in Mississippi.”
The project is aimed to help Oxford plan ahead for expansion, making sure the town is prepared for the influx of people with its 200th anniversary looming in 2037.
“We are looking at Oxford at our anniversary, what the growth and population will do,” city planner Andrea Correll said. “It will help us keep our character by being proactive instead of reactive.”
Orion will get started as soon as possible with their plans with the first phase being a submitted proposal to the Board with a comprehensive plan to get started. The process will take 6-10 months with an estimated budget of $80,000 this year. City officials were in agreement that they want an open process throughout.
“It’ll be a slower process that includes the public in all phases,” said Patterson. “We want a very transparent one. We don’t want it said that we didn’t invite everyone to everything.”
Public meetings will be held to discuss zoning, transportation, working with the university’s Master Plan, as well as other parts of the process. Planning administrator, Benjamin Requet, echoed the mayor’s desire to keep the citizens of Oxford abreast to the phases of the plan.
“It’s their town too, so show up and come be a part of this process.”
Michael Quirk is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.