By Alyssa Schnugg
With the county’s median income being $43,000, the very people who make Oxford, Oxford, are finding it difficult to live in the town they work hard at making special.
To help combat Oxford’s lack of affordable housing, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved a new Housing Commission Tuesday night at the request of Mayor Robyn Tannehill, who presented the list of 13 people who will make up the executive committee.
Those members are: Alderman Janice Antonow, Lafayette County Supervisor Kevin Frye, Lafayette County Building Official Joel Hollowell, Oxford Planning Commission member J.R. Rigby, Lionel Maten, Oxford Housing Authority Director Teasha Sanders, Lance Hickman, Kathy Sukanek, Ruth Ball, Alonzo Hilliard, the Rev. Alfred Hall and developers J.W. McCurdy and Stewart Rutledge.
“This executive committee is comprised of representatives from local governments, the University of Mississippi, local advocacy groups and a group of local builders and developers,” Tannehill said.
The executive committee will for additional subcommittees once they get established that could include other members of the community.
“We want to enlist the help of anyone who is interested in finding viable, fiscally sound and realistic solutions,” Tannehill said.
One of the new committee members, Stewart Rutledge, is currently developing two affordable housing units, along with LOU Homes, in Oxford – Belle Rivers and Eastover, which are both currently under construction.
Belle Rivers will consist of 48 units as attached duplexes on 9 acres off Slack and Vaughn Roads, just east of the Kroger shopping center. Eastover is just south of Oxford High School, near the Sisk Avenue extension.
The requirements to live at either the Belle Rivers or Eastover complexes are to make 60 percent of the Lafayette County median income, which is approximately $43,000. Rent is expected to be around $700 a month.
At the end of 15 years, in 2034, people living in the complexes will have an option to purchase the townhouses and their rent payments will be credited toward the purchase price, which will be assessed at a fair market price.
“The Board of Aldermen have worked really hard to secure these first affordable housing developments,” Tannehill said. “While many local governments use ordinances, procedures and policies to obstruct development, I’m really proud of this board and their goal of making affordable housing a reality in this community. We have a lot of work to do.”