Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Historic Preservation Gives Nod to New N. Lamar Pocket Park Plan

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Design plans for a pocket park on North Lamar Boulevard were approved Monday by the Oxford Historic Preservation Commission. Rendering provided by the city of Oxford.

After bids for a pocket park at the corner of North Lamar Boulevard and Price Street were rejected in January, a new simplified plan gained approval from the Oxford Historic Preservation Commission Monday.

The bids that were received in January on the original design, which included a walking path and large fountain, were well over budget with the lowest bid being about $930K and the highest bid hitting more than $2 million.

“We had to get rid of the fountain,” said Mark Levy, director of special projects for the city of Oxford during the HPC’s regular meeting Monday. “It’s very expensive and it’s hard to find a contractor to build it.”

The new design includes concrete pathways, tree planters with small water features and “sea walls” that will serve as seats and a “reflection pond.”

“The pond will be about 12 inches of water,” Levy said. “We feel it’s a more simple plan, but we also feel it works really well.”

The commissioners agreed, saying they preferred the new plan for the park over the previous version and approved the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

The park will be located where the former Fire Station No. 1 was before it closed in 2014 and a new fire station was built on McElroy Drive.

The commission also agreed to send a request to the Board of Aldermen to allow public art in the park, a commemorative plaque for the former fire stations and a possible statue of the late author Larry Brown, who also served in the Oxford Fire Department. Brown died in 2004.