3Qs with John Oxford

The Tupelo Redevelopment Agency recently held a board retreat to discuss long-range goals for the Fairpark District in downtown Tupelo. Priority was placed on figuring out how to get quality housing at a value price. John Oxford, who serves as the volunteer chairman of the TRA board, discussed some of the ideas last week with business reporter Carlie Kollath.

Q: What are TRA’s residential plans for Fairpark?
A: We are looking at pricing in the midst of the current economy and trying to make it more competitive and attractive for developers as well as individuals who would like to buy land for future home building and development. We want to go back and readjust our pricing to fit the times we’re in.

Q: You’ve said you’d like to see more homes in the $150,000 to $175,000 range. How would those houses compare to the current houses, which in general are $250,000 and up?
A: They would probably have to be a little smaller and wouldn’t have some of the high-end appliances and design work within. I don’t want them to be cheaper homes in the way they are built. I’m thinking about readjusting the size of the homes and the size of the lots. We want the houses to be attractive to recent college grads and young professionals and those looking to downsize who have had children move out and are looking for a more centralized location.

Q: What are your thoughts about Mayor Jack Reed Jr.’s idea of leasing the homes?
A: It’s a creative idea and it could be done. It would have to be done with decent neighborhood association input. The main concern is the person who is leasing the property must take as much pride in it as a homeowner. But we are open to the idea.

NEMS Daily Journal