Vision 2037 planning great for city

Published 3:09 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

City officials and members of the community met mid-day Thursday in City Hall to hear the latest update from consultants regarding the Vision 2037 plan and the path many would like for Oxford to take in the next 30 years.

Like previous meetings regarding the plan, there were plenty of good questions from the audience and the panel of consultants provided information about their findings with a power-point presentation outlining expected growth in Oxford and how other communities have dealt with such growth.

Following this meeting, the consultants will meet again in October with local officials and hopefully present their results to the public.

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While the consultants spoke of urban neighborhoods, redesigning commercial development and incorporating such developments with existing and future neighborhoods, they also said Oxford is blessed with an outstanding downtown area with a “thriving” central location in the Square — something Oxonians have known for quite a while. But it’s nice to hear that we’re doing things right when it comes to developing a vibrant downtown district when so many other towns and cities struggle to keep the heart of their community beating.

The consultant’s pointed out the Oxford Square Alliance has done an outstanding job promoting the Square and we could not agree more. But the partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oxford has also fostered growth in The Square. It is truly a team effort.

Of course the Square is not perfect, namely parking — or the lack thereof. The consultants did recommend a paid parking garage within walking distance of the Square, which is something city officials have explored for the last decade.

Keeping Oxford’s charm while controlling the expected growth is going to be a challenge, but we applaud city officials for taking proactive steps rather than allow such growth to overrun us. Before any final decisions are made, there are expected to be at least one and possibly two more public meetings on the Vision 2037 plan.

Let’s just hope when the consultant’s return in October there is a plan that we all can agree upon.

(“Our View” is an unsigned editorial representing the general opinion of The Oxford EAGLE editorial board, which includes Publisher Tim Phillips, Editor Stephanie Rebman, Managing Editor Rob Sigler, City Editor Alyssa Schnugg and photographer Bruce Newman.)