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Show your concern for Oxford

A friend of mine from New Jersey messaged me this weekend after reading about Hugh Freeze resigning and seeing the comments being made on social media about the situation.

“You guys need to calm down down there,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s just a football coach.”

I’ve lived in Oxford for 10 years and learned, very quickly, it’s never just about some football coach.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things she’s right, and to the outside world it may look a little silly about the fuss some are making — and they’re right to a degree. The ugliness, name calling, insults and arguments are silly.

However, the concern by Oxonians is not. We know how closely tied the success of our local economy is to the University of Mississippi. Our Square and our “mom and pops” thrive when the school is doing well. It’s not just football, however. Tourism increases when any of our sports teams do well, but football still has the biggest impact.

In conversations I’ve had with local realtors, many have told me the real estate market fluctuates according to how well the Rebels did the previous season.

But Oxford is so much more than just football. We have a wonderful thriving arts community. We have two local Farmer’s Markets. We have our amazing Square and some of the best food in the country. We have Southern charm and a community who truly care about each other in times of need.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Lafayette County was one of the fastest growing counties in the state. During 2000 and 2010, the Rebels had their ups and down from being 7-5 in 2000 to 4-8 in 2010, and yet, we continued to grow. During the latter part of that 10-year period, the nation also went through The Great Recession, and again, the LOU community remained strong.

So maybe we do need to calm down a bit and let the university iron out its football woes and remain the kind of fans Rebel fans are known to be throughout the SEC — loyal to a fault, no matter what, win or lose.

Let’s put our energy into shaping Oxford for the next 10 years. Both the city and the county are working on new Land Development Codes and zoning ordinances right now, that will guide our area’s growth. We will grow. We will get a new coach and the Rebels will win and they will lose.

But Oxford is changing and everyone needs to know how it’s changing and help local officials decide if it’s changing in the right ways.

On Thursday, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., at the Oxford Conference Center, the Oxford Planning Department is holding an open meeting for citizens to review the new Land Use Maps and zoning ordinances being proposed to go into effect this fall. The county supervisors are expected to vote on a new zoning map in the next few months.

Show your concern about Oxford in a constructive way. Let’s get off Facebook for a few minutes and stop arguing about a man who clearly made his own choices. The rest of us can choose to support and guide the growth of the LOU community.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com