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Oxford activity center talks start over

Discussions of building a new Oxford Activity Center have been taking place for well over a year between city leaders and the Oxford Park Commission, but how much funding was available to accomplish such a task was a bit ambiguous.

Without given any hard figures by the city, OPC hired JBHM Architects last year to develop a plan that showed their “dream center,” that would cost $30 million to $50 million to build.

On Tuesday, new OPC Director Seth Gaines reported to members of the Oxford Park Commission board that during a recent conversation with Mayor Pat Patterson he was told $7 million was available for a new center.

“They’re ready to go now,” Gaines said.

The city budgeted about $500,000 to clean up the old garbage dump located on the empty property across from the current activity center. Once that’s done, Price Street will be moved to join Molly Barr Road a little farther north, giving OPC some additional land to expand its activity center.

“They first thought we couldn’t build much on it, other than a parking lot, but I’ve been told it will pass any compaction test,” said OPC board member Mike McGee. “That gives us some more options.”

The commission suggested having a work session in the near future to discuss and prioritize needs for the facility.

“Maybe some of those have changed over the year,” said Commissioner Marvin King.

The commission discussed whether to do a Request for Quote, where OPC would ask contractors to send in their ideas for a new center or to go to a few and say, “What can you do for $7 million?”

An RFQ is commonly used when you know what you want but need information on how vendors would meet your requirements and/or how much it will cost.

Commission Chairman Don Frugé Jr. suggested having a conversation with JBHM Architects again.

“They have a sense of our needs already, they’ve done a lot of research,” he said.

The board agreed to look at the calendar and schedule a work session.