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Needs on the Square go beyond parking

The downtown parking garage under consideration by the City of Oxford is a fine idea in the spirit of providing access to our most popular business and entertainment destination.

The Oxford Square district, after all, has more than just bars and restaurants. It hosts popular arts events that draw large crowds and require parking, like Thacker Mountain Radio, and it hosts civic club meetings and more on a regular basis that require parking.

But we as a community must understand that this parking garage will also require vigilance and monitoring, particularly in the late night hours.

The Oxford Square district is increasingly under pressure from outside loiterers and revelers in the late night hours during popular events, including Ole Miss football games. Crowds gather from 11 a.m. to sometimes 2 a.m. in places like the alley/street next to the Visit Oxford office, and in other side streets near the Square, sometimes making visitors uncomfortable with behavior and drunkenness.

It is not unreasonable to think that a nearby parking garage on late such nights could be at risk for criminal activity if not closely monitored. So, while we think the parking garage is an important part of the city’s growth, and applaud city leaders for addressing the need, we hope that plans will include more police staffing and monitoring, particularly on the busiest late nights.