Oxford Borough moves closer to purchasing parking lot
By Steven Hoffman
Following a brief executive session at the March 21 meeting, Oxford Borough Council unanimously approved an agreement of sale to purchase two parcels that comprise the National Penn Bank parking lot in the borough's business district.
The borough is now waiting for the agreement of sale to be approved by National Penn Bank.
The parking lot is the preferred site for a parking garage that borough officials are considering as a way to boost economic development in the downtown and to solve the long-term parking issues.
Oxford will pay $1 to acquire the rights to the two parcels. The agreement also stipulates that the National Penn Bank will receive 40 parking spaces in the 300-space parking garage for a period of 25 years.
Securing an agreement of sale on the parking lot was a necessary step in the process of planning for the construction of the parking garage.
“I am glad that I am a part of the council that did this—I think it's very exciting,” said council president Ron Hershey after the announcement.
Council member Randy Grace echoed the sentiment, saying that he is looking forward to seeing Oxford's business district grow.
The borough has actually been exploring the possibility of purchasing the National Penn Bank-owned parking lot for many years because portions of the lot have long been used for public parking. That arrangement dates back to when the lot was owned by the Peoples Bank of Oxford.
In related business, Steven Krug, the principal of Krug Architects, the firm retained by the borough to oversee the parking garage project, offered an update about the efforts to construct a parking structure in the business district. They are currently working on two active grant applications to secure funding for the parking garage project. A meeting also took place recently with State Rep. John Lawrence and the Economic Development Committee of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI).
OMI executive director Donna Hosler made a request for Oxford to increase its annual contribution in support of the organization. She noted that the borough has been contributing around $10,500 for many years. The OMI board is looking for the borough to increase its contribution to $15,500 annually.
She noted that one of the reasons that the borough has supported OMI financially is that the organization takes responsibility for maintaining the plants and flowers in the downtown, cleans up debris in the business district, and handles other necessary chores that are essential to the town.
“These are things that the borough would probably need to do if there were no OMI,” Hosler said, explaining that these functions are only a small part of OMI's overall mission to promote economic development in the downtown.
Hershey agreed that OMI does work that would otherwise fall to the borough's employees, and he said that the borough gets a very good return on its investment.
Grace suggested sending this issue to the Finance Committee for consideration.
Oxford Borough Council will meet again on Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m.