Oxford Planning Commission says activity center will not relocate

Published 10:33 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

During last week’s Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting, Mayor Pat Patterson asked Oxford Park Commission Chair Don Fruge’ to discuss with the other commissioners if it’s really worth spending $2 million on a new building just to keep it next to the existing Oxford Activity Center.

On Wednesday, OPC commissioners answered with a resounding “yes.”

OPC commissioners recently learned the ground where they had hoped to build a new facility that would provide more basketball courts, a walking track, fitness room and classroom space, next to the existing Activity Center.

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Removing more trash

The city of Oxford spent $1.5 million to move Price Street to give OPD a bigger campus for the new building.

Most of that land was once the city landfill. While it was expected to run into some trash under the proposed building, a recent geotechnical study shows the trash went down 12 feet, which would have to be removed before the new building was constructed.

City Engineer Bart Robinson said he would feel safe removing 5 feet of the trash underneath the parking lot, rather than 12 feet from the entire site. The price tag to accomplish that would be an $1.7 million.

OPC has $8.5 million available for the project — $7.5 million from the city and $1 million from the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.

The city owns land in other locations where the new facility could be built, but it would not be within walking distance to the current facility.

OPC Commissioner Mike McGee said he strongly felt the new building needs to remain on the same campus as the current activity center.

“For a long time we’ve envisioned that area as a campus, with the tennis courts, activity center there and the Stone Center and pool nearby,” McGee said. “If we move it somewhere else, it disconnects that family environment we want to foster. And you want it to be accessible to as many people as possible.”

McGee said he’d rather try to find the additional funding to remove the trash than build the new center someone else in Oxford.

The other commissioners agreed to recommend to the Board of Aldermen to keep the new future center where it was originally planned to be built.