By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Todd Wade has qualified as an independent to run for mayor of Oxford.
He will challenge incumbent George “Pat” Patterson in the June 4 general election. Qualifying deadline is today at 5 p.m.
Wade, played football at the University of Mississippi and in the NFL, is a real estate investor in Oxford and in other states and is the owner of a student debt collection and counseling service. He said he has three primary priorities.
“We have to preserve the Square and preserve the small-town feel of all of Oxford,” he said. “We need to help tourism throughout the year, not just a few weekends a year. And we need to be encouraging a more cooperative relationship with the university.”
Wade said he would focus on the development needs of the entire city, including portions of University and Jackson avenues.
“Obviously, there are a lot more businesses on them, but there has been little infrastructure improvement,” he said. “Neither has there been much land annexed when the demand is screaming for it.”
Wade said Oxford’s Vision 2020 hasn’t been sufficiently implemented and that if elected he would push for a new 10-year comprehensive plan.
“Growth is coming, whether we like it or not. What I’m saying is not, ‘Let’s bring as many people here as fast as possible,’” he said. “The issue is that we have not annexed land and done it properly, with a strategic growth plan.
“Everything seems to be pushing toward the Square, and now we seem to be over-policing the Square with ticketing. We have people come into town to visit or for games, and the last thing they’re hit with is a parking ticket. Store owners don’t want it, and really the town doesn’t want it.”