By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Some 16 years after its ambitious Vision 2020 long-range planning process, the city of Oxford launched an update that focuses on the community’s bicentennial year.
The Vision 2037 effort began Tuesday with the facilitator group – design and planning professionals from across the Southeast – meeting with the mayor and board of aldermen, then a mobility/transportation focus group meeting, an all-afternoon tour and a public kickoff meeting at the Oxford Conference Center.
Former Mayor Richard Howorth chairs the process, which continued Wednesday with focus group meeting on environment, growth and land use, housing, local economy, and Old Oxford/preservation/neighborhoods.
“We’re trying to get sufficient input from both the general public and people in the community who have a lot of experience with particular aspects of community life,” Howorth said.
Tuesday’s public meeting drew some 120 area residents, who identified favorite community elements and areas or issues of concern. Nearly every group named the Square and the University of Mississippi campus as favorite parts of Oxford, along with parks, neighborhoods with character, bike trails, transit and others.
Oft-named concerns involved heavy traffic and overdevelopment, the Square and its preservation, lack of affordable housing, clear-cut developments and others.
Engineer Jeff Williams illustrated the difficulty of serving all constituencies.
“One thing that’s good and bad is the double roundabout on Old Taylor Road,” he said. “It’s great for traffic not real comfortable for pedestrians.”
The Vision 2037 facilitator group will host more public input opportunities late this month. On April 27 the first planning workshop will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at Oxford Intermediate School, and on April 30 another planning workshop will be from 5 to 8 p.m. back at Oxford Conference Center.