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Oxford to study downtown traffic for potential parking deck

OXFORD — The city will sponsor a traffic study in hopes of meeting deadline for a federal grant, the City Council decided Tuesday. 

Mayor Alton Craft is authorized to employ Montgomery engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood for a traffic study designed to measure parking demand in the downtown area. Council members said that the study is a component in a federal grant which could be used to build a downtown parking deck, among other road and transportation projects. 

The grant — which was not named during the work session or meeting — has a deadline of Feb. 11, making the study an urgent matter if the city is to take advantage, according to Council President Chris Spurlin. The traffic assessment will cost $12,000. 

The parking deck project might not be the one the council proposes in its federal application, however; more discussion will take place during the next council meeting, Spurlin said. Starting the study will simply keep the option available. 

During its meeting and work session, the City Council also:

— Heard from Hunter Gentry, director of the city’s Main Street program. Gentry said his agency had reached its fifth year in 2019, and presented a pamphlet explaining some of the organization’s achievements in the last five years, including 17 new businesses from 2014-19, with five of them in the last year. 

“There are still people who don’t realize that Oxford’s downtown is so big,” Gentry said after the work session. “But you can tell by the numbers, and how many new businesses we’ve had.” 

— Heard from Oxford fire Chief Gary Sparks that some lights from the Magic of Lights Christmas event at Choccolocco Park are still up. The lights will get some use next week during night races at the Choccolocco Green Prix, a series of races between high school robotics and engineering classes that includes the Oxford High and Middle School teams. The races will be Jan. 24-25, Sparks said. 

— Amended the city’s lodging rules to redefine the term “transient,” altering it from “a person to whom rooms or lodging are rented for a period of less than 30 continuous days” to the same, but 180 continuous days. 

— Issued a proclamation congratulating Stephen Goodwin, superintendent of Oxford City Schools, for his being named state superintendent of the year, and issued another proclaiming January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, as part of a national movement to bring recognition to prevalent crimes against civil and human rights.


Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.