Published on June 29th, 2017 | by Brittain Thompson0
Robyn Tannehill Sworn into Office as Mayor of Oxford, Mississippi
Former Ward 2 Alderman Robyn Tannehill was sworn in Thursday morning, June 29, as the new Mayor of Oxford, Mississippi. We spoke with her recently regarding what issues she plans to tackle first.
“I was completely shocked when 5 o’clock rolled around and no one had thrown their name in the hat,” said Mayor Tannehill. “I do think there’s something to the fact that it is a ginormous job and most people thought better of it”
The concern over responsible growth has steadily become more prominent in Oxford, and this year’s election was directed by those concerns.
“It is a daunting task for sure, but it’s also an exciting task,” said Tannehill. “Oxford is in a really critical time. I’ve said numerous times that it’s like Oxford is at its adolescence and we’re having to decide what to be when we grow up.”
Responsibly growing as a town has numerous challenges that were in the spotlight throughout the election. Tannehill plans to tackle these concerns head on.
“We are looking at annexation and have actually been in a meeting about that today,” said Tannehill. “We’re studying lots of different areas and seeing what we can afford to annex.”
Area studies are currently focused near existing road extensions for West Oxford Loop Extended, which will connect near FNC Park, and Sisk Avenue Extended, which will connect Sisk Avenue to Highway 7.
“Those two areas, I think it gives people the chance to be able to control the development of those roadways that will go through our communities.”
Through annexation, Tannehill hopes to also combat the affordable housing issue. As Oxford absorbs undeveloped land, that opens the opportunity to create “Workforce housing.”
“When you say affordable housing, some picture subsidized public housing, different ranges of home, but I think we could use more housing in all of those categories,” said Tannehill. “Workforce housing refers to those that work in Oxford and make our town go round. It encompasses a lot of jobs that don’t allow folks to afford real estate in Oxford. We’re hoping that by annexing some undeveloped land that it makes more of an opportunity for that.”
Congestion, especially on main roads such as Jackson Ave. and University Ave., in Oxford has come right along with the population boom. Tannehill plans to address this as soon as she’s in office.
“I wish we could start over, but since we can’t we’re putting together a transportation plan as soon as I’m in office,” said Tannehill. “What consultants have told us is that when you can’t move the road themselves, you move where the traffic is going.”
Tannehill has plans to review city ordinances and zonings to allow for smaller neighborhood stores to come in to established residential areas. These will, in theory, reduce congestion on main roads by allowing residents and tourists to drive a mile down the road rather than have to dive into traffic on Highway 6, Jackson Ave., and University Ave.
Balancing the needs of residents while utilizing the tourism demand to grow as city is a tall order, but Mayor-Elect Tannehill is ready for that job.