Oxford Borough Council seeks grant for parking garage
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough is starting its efforts to secure funding from federal, state, and county sources to construct a 300-space parking garage in the business district.
At Monday night's meeting, borough council approved a resolution supporting a grant application with the Chester County Department of Community Development for $1 million in funding through the 2016 Chester County Revitalization Program grant.
This is just one grant that the borough is seeking in its bid to construct a parking garage on the parking lot owned by National Penn Bank. Just last month, Oxford Borough reached an agreement with National Penn Bank to purchase the two parcels that comprise the parking lot if plans to build the parking garage move forward. 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 parking garage for a period of 25 years.
Oxford Borough retained Krug Architects to do a comprehensive parking study in the latter part of 2015. That study concluded that Oxford Borough's best option to meet the long-term parking needs in the business district was to construct a parking garage on the National Penn Bank lot. Krug Architects has worked with other communities, including West Chester Borough, on parking garage projects, and is now collaborating with Econ Partners, a full-service economic development firm, on the effort to secure funding for the $5.73 million project.
Parking garages are viewed by communities as a way to boost economic development.
Stephen Krug, the principal of Krug Architects, said that the borough could expect to pursue as much as $3 million in grants from federal, state, and county sources. Securing sufficient grant funding is essential for the project to move forward.
Borough council also approved retaining EnviroSure, Inc. to do an environmental site assessment on the parking lot owned by National Penn Bank.
Borough council is following the widespread trend of government entities investing in tablets for officials to use so that information can be shared digitally rather than printing everything out. Officials expect that this will save on printing and paper costs. Oxford Borough utilized money from the gift fund to purchase the tablets, at a cost of approximately $5,700, so taxpayer money was not used.
Jerome Rodio, the president of the board for the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce, announced that they are once again planning the popular Movies in the Park series. Movies in the Park will take place on the third Friday of the month for June, July, and August.
Rodio said that they expect to get 600 attendees at each event. Volunteers clean up after each movie so there will be minimal impact to the borough. Council approved a waiver of the fee to rent the park for the series.
The movies that will be featured this year have not yet been selected, Rodio said.
“It will be three good ones,” he promised.
Borough council approved the appointment of Lorraine Durnan Bell to fill the vacancy on the planning commission that was created when Butch Saranetz resigned. Bell also currently serves on the Oxford School Board.
Business owner Randy Teel said that his store, R & J Plaques and Engraving, located on Third Street, has been broken into two times in the last month. He suggested that the borough officials use some of the gift funds that are available to install security cameras in the business district.
“Why can't we buy some cameras?” he asked. “There is a lot of activity that goes on at night that we're not aware of.”