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Oxford Borough working on park improvements

06/11/2014 01:05PM ● Published by ACL

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

The Oxford Memorial Park is in line for improvements if borough officials have their way.

Council member Paul Matthews has been leading the effort to add special-needs playground equipment for youngsters who can’t utilize the playground equipment that is currently in the park.

“It’s a much-needed playground,” Matthews said. “No child should be left behind watching other children play just because they have special needs.”

Matthews said that there has been considerable support in the community for adding playground equipment for special-needs children. The Oxford Rotary Club has even offered its help to install the new equipment.

At Monday night’s borough council meeting, borough manager Betsy Brantner also said that she and others are working on plans to make the veterans memorial in the park stand out.

Although the park is small, its proximity to the center of the borough and the memorial to veterans make it an important part of the community. Movies in the Park and other community events are scheduled there. Later this year, a memorial to the Defense Women of Oxford will be dedicated.

In other business at Monday night's council meeting, Brantner updated council on the efforts to apply for a $550,000 grant for improvements to Wheeler Boulevard. If the grant application is successful, the borough will be able to install new waterlines, make stormwater system improvements, and pave the street.

Council member Randy Teel said that discussions about improvements to Wheeler Boulevard date back more than a decade, and several council members commented about how the boulevard could really use the improvements.

Council member John Thompson told council that he wants to form a committee to help get more participation for the annual Memorial Day Parade.

“The ceremony is always great,” Thompson explained, {but} we’re looking to make the parade a little better.”

Teel quickly agreed to be a part of the committee, which will oversee the organizing and planning of the Memorial Day Parade. Teel also said that there are plans taking shape for a parade on July 4.

Thompson said that anyone interested in serving on the committee should contact him.

Brantner received approval from council to hold a public meeting regarding updates to the borough’s revitalization plan. She said that she has been working on updating the plan, which was last revised in 2003. The public meeting will likely take place sometime this fall.

A more immediate meeting will take place to discuss streetscape improvements to Market Street. Phase 3 of the borough’s streetscape project, a much smaller phase, is about to go out to bid and Brantner wants to hold a meeting for property owners in that section of town to explain this phase of the work.

The borough is considering increasing an applicant’s costs for a Zoning Hearing Board meeting from $600 to $1,500. Brantner noted that at the current rate of $600 the fee isn’t even covering the costs of advertising, preparing for, and holding a meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board. Council authorized moving forward with establishing a new flat rate for the Zoning Hearing Board meetings either through an ordinance or a resolution.

 The borough council approved the hiring of three part-time police officers. The borough is hoping that the additional part-time help will reduce overtime costs by providing more options for shift coverage.

Council president Ron Hershey sought and received council’s support to draft a letter on council’s behalf to the owner of the Third Street property where the Getty Mart is located. Several council members commented about the ongoing—and unfavorable—issues at Getty Mart and said that they hope that a new use can be found for the property sooner rather than later.

Oxford Borough Council's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 16.

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