Along with the Winter Solstice, marking the shortest day of the year, December brought the end of another semester at Ole Miss and the promise of a New Year.
Say goodbye 2022, Oxford, and hello 2023. Before we go, there are things of consequence that happened in our fair city.
At the December 6 Board of Aldermen meeting, Matt Davis, head of parking in Oxford, reported the City has exceeded $1 million in parking meter collections for the first time. Not bad for only 300 parking meters! And almost enough to cover the annual payment on the Parking Garage.
Most of the action in Oxford this month (apart from the weather of course) happened at the Oxford Planning Commission meeting December 12. The Planning Commission approved several consequential projects that will affect Oxford for years to come and provide jobs in construction along with housing and commercial space for businesses.
The first project approved was Larry McAlexander’s Evergreen Farmers Market and restaurant that will be located on Pat Patterson Parkway directly across from M Trade Park. It will house a 9,600 square foot building for the restaurant and farmer’s market.
On the corner of North Lamar and Pleasant Drive, Jay Evan’s request for a 4-story mixed use building and a 3-story residential apartment / condo building was also approved. The 4-story building will consist of 9,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and three stories of residential dwellings above it.
These buildings will take the place of Local Color, the head shop that was demolished last year.
Progress is bittersweet as many Oxonians remember that place for its uniqueness and homespun owner. I myself remember going there in 2002 and walking into a shrine / retail store.
More large commercial and residential buildings proposed by Andy Calicut were also approved at the meeting. These buildings known as The Landing at Oxford Farms off South Lamar near the hospital will house medical offices and residential apartments.
Just before Christmas, at their meeting December 20th, the Aldermen were in the holiday spirit and several wore Christmas colors and colorful green and red sweaters.
The Mayor noted the weather forecast had improved, as snow and ice swung north, and we were spared from the worst of the historic Christmas storm.
A warming center was proposed but not approved based on the change in forecast and lack of use. But police and fire stations were generously offered for residents in need.
An Affordable Housing Commission letter to the Board was also acknowledged, requesting the city set aside property on Pegues road for affordable housing. It was denied based on the lack of a concrete plan before The Board and because the City property in question might be needed for future road expansion.
The Aldermen also noted it was city employee appreciation month and asked Oxonians to thank city workers for their service to the city.
This year 2023 will also mark the 20th Anniversary of the Oxford Film Festival but the Mayor rejected film festival banners on the Oxford Square. She said they should instead go along University Avenue or other commercial thoroughfares in order to avoid over-commercialization of The Square.
These were just some of the events that made up the last month of 2022. Happy New Year readers and see you in 2023!