By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved applying for two grants to build a frontage road in conjunction with the widening of Mississippi Highway 7 in and south of Oxford.
One of the awards sought is a $2 million community block development grant, and the other is a Development Infrastructure Program grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.
“When MDOT four-lanes Highway 7, they’ll have a frontage road from Office Park Drive to the first entrance of North Mississippi Regional Center,” said City Engineer Bart Robinson. “This grant would build an extension of it up 800 to 1000 feet to the north.”
If the city wins the grants, the frontage road will be extended from Office Park Drive across Bailey Branch and up the west side of Highway 7 to a site on which FNC, a home-grown high-tech company serving the mortgage industry, hopes to build a second office complex.
Eligibility for the grants requires that the project enable the creation of at least 100 new jobs, which FNC President Glen Evans indicated is an extremely modest goal. The company undertook a study before making plans for expansion.
“In that study, we’re expecting to add about 300 jobs locally,” he said. “That’s the reason we need our two campuses connected.”