More free parking needed on Square

Published 6:00 am Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Oxford Board of Alderman and the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission are headed in the right direction by discussing ways to provide additional parking on the Square.

We encourage aldermen and the parking commission to study parking habits and the locations where a parking deck could be constructed and make a decision of whether or not to move forward with building a structure. Square patrons and employees are in need of more free parking options Monday through Saturday, and it is critical that the work on this project continues to progress.

Aldermen should call on the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors to talk about the possibility of building a multipurpose parking deck behind the Lafayette County Detention Center that could be used by the sheriff’s department and would have access to South 9th Street, Jackson Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

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Rebel Book Store, Goolsby’s Hair World and First Baptist Church should be asked if they would be willing to sell land so a parking deck could be built on the store’s locations and the church’s current parking lot.

Preliminary designs for a parking deck behind City Hall and the Oxford-University Club should be revisited, and a plan to pay for construction of the parking deck should be discussed. Using the parking meter’s $600,000 in revenue is a good place to start in making financial plans.

Coming to a decision and acting on it is critical for Square businesses and their employees, as workers must have a place to park and patrons must have a way to get to retail stores, restaurants, lawyers’ offices and more. It is also critical for downtown churches, which are struggling to reserve their own parking spaces for members, and businesses looking to open on the Square, who will not do so without having a place for employees to park.

Our current parking system is working — for now. But it won’t be long until the University and our town outgrows the free and paid parking available on the Square. Let’s make sure the Square is prepared for anticipated growth by keeping the parking garage discussion open and moving to the next step.