Oxford closes street, ponders sale

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Oxford aldermen voted Tuesday to declare surplus a dead-end stretch of 4th Street off Jackson Avenue, just east of the pedestrian bridge.
In a separate vote, they approved a two-appraisal process to sell the land to the developer of a proposed adjacent Marriott Courtyard, whose site plan had been previously approved on condition of including that land.
Attorney Matthew Moore, representing developer Bruce Patel, said the property is of no use to the city.
“It’s pretty much a drive for my client; it’s in disrepair; the turnout onto Jackson Avenue is in a blind curve,” he said. “Closing it serves the city’s best interests.”
The 121-room hotel would provide 50 jobs, Moore said, along with property, sales and tourism tax revenues.
Attorney Jenessa Hicks, who represented the recently formed J. Springs LLC, objected first to the abandonment and second to the private sale.
“I think the city would gather more revenue for taxpayers in a sealed bid process,” she said.
Alderman Janice Antonow responded, “Then we stand the chance of whoever buys the property not doing the project, and then we sit here with that mudhole another five years.”
“As I see it, I think we can sell this … and proceed with a good project that’s going to bring in $100,000 tax a year, or we can go a different route for potentially very little difference in price,” added Mayor George “Pat” Patterson.
City Attorney Pope Mallette said the city could legally pursue a private sale supported by two or three appraisals without an obligation to sell.
Both votes were approved unanimously.
errol.castens@journalinc.com