OXFORD — Atlanta-based company RaceTrac will open a new gas station near Interstate 20 exit 185, now that the city has vacated part of a road bisecting the station’s site.
Bert Boykin, a representative for RaceTrac Petroleum — which owns and operates RaceTrac and RaceWay gas stations throughout the southeast United States — spoke with City Council members Tuesday night about the gas station project, which will include a convenience store and pumps for semi trucks and other large vehicles. The council approved the vacation of part of Berry Street that divides two parcels of land; on one sits a RaceTrac location, with a Valero station on the other. Those two properties are between Alabama 21 and Elm Street, beside a Waffle House and Kangaroo station, just southwest of the I-20 exit.
“Ultimately, this site will be reconfigured to allow for a brand new gas station,” Boykin said during a public hearing at the council meeting. “It will not be a truck stop in the traditional sense; no overnight parking, no showers. It will have a convenience store with a nice, clean, modern look.”
With the council’s approval, the company can buy the Valero station from its current owner, Jay Mahraj LLC, and start construction later in the year. Boykin said some preliminary work has already been done, like plans to relocate infrastructure with utility companies.
During its meeting, the City Council held three other public hearings; one was for a request from Word Alive International Outreach to rezone some of the church’s property from Allendale and Coldwater roads.
“We want the land rezoned so we can do housing, starting with a women’s home,” said Kent Maddox, pastor at the church. “Our first project is for recovery of those coming out of the sex trade and in abuse cases.”
The church also plans to build housing for international Bible students, Maddox told the council, which voted to approve the change.
During its meeting, the City Council also:
— Designated some of Choccolocco and Snow streets as one-way streets. On Choccolocco Street, traffic will flow west from Quintard Avenue to Main Street. On Snow Street, traffic will flow east from Main Street to Quintard. Those sections will have marked bicycle pathways, according to Spurlin, after some discussion amongst the council about how to indicate that the streets are bike-friendly.
Changing the streets to single-lane will leave extra room on the roadways and open up about 130 parking spaces downtown, said Councilwoman Charlotte Hubbard.
— Set the speed limit to 55 on Bynum Boulevard from the intersection of Bynum and Turner Road to Bynum and Alabama 202.
— Rezoned property at 804 Hale Street from residential to Neighborhood Shopping District; Council President Chris Spurlin said the change will allow a law office to open at the address, just behind Martin’s Family Clothing and beside Oxford High School.
— Condemned a structure at 3903 U.S. 78 W. No representatives for the property appeared during the public hearing.
— Declared about 1 acre of city land at 1710 Alabama 21 as surplus.
— Appointed Sandra Pennington to the Keep Oxford Beautiful board. Hubbard said the organization will have a kickoff event March 3; more detail about the event will be provided closer to that date, she said.