HottyToddy.com had the pleasure recently to discuss the Oxford economy with EDF President Jon Maynard. We primarily were interested in the economic impact that Baptist’s new hospital is already having on the community, however, what we came away with was much more than anticipated!
HottyToddy.com: Jon, before we get into the central theme (focus) of the interview, please share with our readers the impact that healthcare facilities have on attracting retirees and others.
Jon Maynard: Medical care is absolutely a major component in attraction. If you’re strictly talking about individuals 60 and older, this is undoubtedly a major concern.
HottyToddy.com: With the hospital well into construction, how will the new facility add value to the Oxford community?
Jon Maynard: Scheduled to open in December 2017, the biggest advantage of the new medical facility is with improving the types of technology. In addition, the efficiency of the building will be significant. The approximate $400 million investment is definitely influencing other types of investment.
HottyToddy.com: Speaking of other investments, what are we already seeing?
Jon Maynard: This new catalyst is already influencing physicians and medical service groups. Baptist is committed to a very long term deliverable of advanced healthcare in Oxford. This is telling the entire medical community that “we’re very serious” in this community about a high, professional level of quality healthcare in all areas.
HottyToddy.com: We understand that other sectors are also being influenced in the immediate area in close proximity to the new hospital.
Jon Maynard: That is correct. There is a new hotel coming on board, new residential development and much more forthcoming in the future.
HottyToddy.com: You often reference the fact that Oxford is a sustainable regional center in terms of an economic environment. How so?
Jon Maynard: Policom Corporation ranks the Micropolitan Statistical Areas each year. There are 536 of these currently that fall into the range of 10,000 population to 50,000. This year (2016) Oxford is ranked number 17 nationwide and number one in the state.
HottyToddy.com: This is most impressive. What are the criteria that comprises the ranking?
Jon Maynard: Policom looks at basically three different groups of data. Because of space limitations, I’ll concisely describe the three. Group one reflects the overall growth in size and quality. This simply says what people earn and the standard of living. Group two focuses on how the economy is behaving. The “flow of (money)” coming into the area is critically important. Group three emphasizes any negative sectors wherein growth indicates an adverse trend. Actual per capita income relating to the poor and disadvantaged (welfare) and Medicaid per capita income (assistance) are measured accordingly as are positive trends.
HottyToddy.com: Before moving on to something else, how is Oxford faring versus the other 17 micropolitans throughout the state?
Jon Maynard: Exceptionally well. We have led the field every year (2007 forward) with the exception of 2009 when we were second to Vicksburg on the list of 17. To illustrate how the economy has changed, since 2009, Oxford has improved from 67th to 17th nationally whereas Vicksburg moved from 66th to 325th. We are definitely trending in the right direction.
HottyToddy.com: Let’s explore some of those other positive areas that Oxford is receiving so much national acclaim.
Jon Maynard: From 2010 through 2015, Lafayette County has grown by 12.3 percent. This compares to .8 percent for Mississippi and 4.1 percent for the U.S. Northeast Mississippi has grown 1.7 percent in this period. As to per capita income, the county is at $34,703 (2014) compared to $34,431 for the state and $46,049 for the nation. Comparing Lafayette to the other 16 counties in Northeast Mississippi, we are first in high school completion and first in “health outcomes.” This ranking is reflective of how healthy the citizenry is.
HottyToddy.com: Returning to the term “sustained growth,” what does this exactly mean?
Jon Maynard: Starting in 1990, Oxford has grown by two percent or more each and every year. This says volumes about our economic strength. And it says to potential investors, the risk of making a large investment here is minimal.
HottyToddy.com: In wrapping up, our retail trade area basically includes a ten-county region. Is that a fair assessment?
Jon Maynard: We are definitely a regional center and are attracting consumers from multiple counties. All of our surrounding counties plus some outside such as Copiah and Grenada are all contributing to our growth.
We could have talked to Jon for hours about all of Oxford’s contributing factors to this positive growth. As to Policom Corporation’s 2016 Report, Oxford is now rated the number one Micropolitan in the entire southeastern United States. Improving on this rate of performance will be tough, however, we are blessed to have visionary leaders who will not be content to rest on our laurels as it is often said in economic development circles that “getting better is better than being good.” Oxford is fortunate now to be included in both discussions!
EDITOR’S NOTE: City-growth expert Joel Kotkin spoke at the Courtside Club at the Ole Miss Pavilion on May 6 on how Oxford can improve its economical growth. Read the story here.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.