By Steven Hoffman
At the Oxford Borough Council meeting on Monday night, Borough Manager Betsy Brantner announced that the borough successfully secured a $225,000 Community Revitalization Program grant from the county (see story on Page 4B) for streetscape improvements to Market Street. She also announced that Wendy’s is opening a fast food restaurant in a pad site in the Oxford Square Mall that was formerly occupied by a bank.
Oxford Borough Council also dealt with an agenda filled with items during a three-hour meeting.
Business owner Vernon Ringler, who owns several properties in town, shared some of his concerns about efforts to improve Sopher’s Alley. There has been a longtime issue with excess trash being haphazardly deposited in the dumpster in the alley. This led to discussions about putting up an unlocked gate to the alley to discourage people from dumping their trash in and near that dumpster.
Ringler owns the Oxford Hall building at the corner of Third and Market Street, which will be impacted by any improvements that are made to the alley. He said that he also has concerns about the plans to blacktop the alley because it might raise the level of the street to a point where it won’t work with the back doors of his building.
“I’m in favor of improvements to the alley,” Ringler said. “But I do have some concerns. The alley has always been a problem and if we constrict the entrance on Third Street and circumstances happen, it’s going to be more of a problem.”
Oxford Borough officials have been meeting with Ringler as they develop plans for the alley.
“These are legitimate points that you’re making and we’re looking into all that,” said Brantner.
Ringler also said that the benches in town are creating more issues than any good that comes from them. He noted that trash is constantly being left on the benches.
“It’s not a plus thing for Oxford,” Ringler said.
Another concern is people who ride bicycles or skateboards in the business district. Such activities are prohibited, Ringler pointed out, but most people don’t know that. He explained that his wife was struck by a cyclist one day last year and knocked to the sidewalk. She didn’t suffer a serious injury, fortunately, but the next time a pedestrian is knocked down he or she might not be so lucky. Ringler said that the cyclist who knocked down his wife wasn’t aware that bicycles weren’t allowed in the business district.
Teel, meanwhile, expressed his concerns about motorcyclists who purposefully rev their engines to be disruptive. He saw this during the most recent First Friday event.
While good news came in the form of the grant for Market Street improvements and the arrival of Wendy’s, there was some bad news, too: Muse, a restaurant on Market Street recently closed its doors. Brantner said that someone is looking at the location as a potential site for a business. A new bridal shop is slated to open in town as well.
Oxford Borough Council reluctantly accepted the resignation of Gregory Duke from the Planning Commission. Duke, a longtime member of that commission, recently moved out of the borough. Council member Randy Teel recommended a citation for Duke for all his years of dedicated service to the town.
Volunteers are needed to work on the Oxford Town Watch, which was founded in 2007. The Town Watch works to deter and reduce crime and undesirable behavior in neighborhoods and to provide a communications network linking law-abiding citizens in the community. Teel described the Town Watch as “the eyes and ears of the police department.” Anyone interested in helping the Oxford Town Watch should seek specific information at email@example.com.