Oxford to vote on possible garage proposals

Oxford StockBy Errol Castens
Daily Journal

OXFORD – The Oxford Board of Aldermen will vote Tuesday on whether to request proposals for design and construction of a parking garage behind City Hall.

Preliminary plans presented by consultant Lee Burch on Friday indicated a garage on the site could provide nearly 500 spaces, but aldermen and Mayor Pat Patterson considered whether a smaller one might serve the city’s foreseeable needs while leaving bonding capacity for other projects.

“Our three major capital needs are a parking garage, an activities center and (renovating) this building,” Patterson said at Friday’s meeting in City Hall. Downtown parking has been a challenge, and while several months’ management by

Standard Parking has eased the crunch, it has failed to meet the promise of being revenue-neutral, with fines raising only a small fraction of Standard’s fees and costs.

City officials have long said a new activity center is needed to replace the crowded, 40-year-old facility at Price Street and Molly Barr Road. City Hall got its last major upgrades in the 1970s, and its third floor is undeveloped.

Alderman John Morgan countered that roads are more urgent than either the garage or the activity center.

Alderman Janice Antonow said making a decision on the garage is urgent both for parking needs and because of current favorable financing.

“If we’re going to issue bonds, we need to do it yesterday,” she said.

After more discussion, board members voted to include the issue on the agenda at Tuesday night’s regular 6 p.m. meeting. A sizable crowd is already expected to attend a scheduled public hearing on changes to Oxford’s beer ordinance.

errol.castens@journalinc.com