Oxford Borough Council receives an update about funding for proposed parking garage
● By Steven Hoffman
At the Oxford Borough Council meeting on Sept. 19, Steve Krug, principal of Krug Architects, provided borough council with an update about the efforts to secure funding for a parking garage near the center of the borough's business district. The parking structure is now being referred to as a transit center because one of the functions of the parking garage could now include serving as a hub for public transportation.
Pauline Garcia-Allen of Econ Partners, who is assisting Krug with the efforts to attain grants for the project, explained that the proposed parking garage would be a good spot for public transit connectivity, which would also potentially make the project eligible for additional funding opportunities, especially at the federal level.
Garcia-Allen said that a transit center in Oxford would put in place the infrastructure for future additions to the regional transportation network.
The Southern Chester County Organization On Transportation (SCCOOT) bus could be routed through the transit center. The SCCOOT bus already passes through town and connects Oxford to West Chester with stops in West Grove, Lincoln University, Kennett Square, and Longwood Gardens.
Council member Peggy Ann Russell asked if having the transit center in town would mean that there would be additional forms of public transportation available to local residents in the future.
“That would be wonderful news for Oxford,” Russell said.
Garcia-Allen explained that there could be a bus connection at some point that would link Oxford to other destinations where people access regional public transportation. One obvious possibility is a bus connection between Oxford and Parkesburg so that people could catch the train at the Amtrak Station there.
Various individuals who are working on the parking garage effort have been exploring the transportation needs throughout the community. For example, it was noted that many Lincoln University students don't have access to vehicles on campus, and the availability of public transportation would be beneficial to those students.
Oxford resident James Sumner, a member of Lincoln University's board of trustees, was in attendance at the meeting and he said that he thought that it would be very good to have some form of public transportation available to students on campus.
Garcia-Allen also informed borough council that they still has not received word about any of the applications that have already been submitted for county, state, and federal funding. Several other applications are about to be submitted.
Oxford Borough officials will decide whether to move forward with building the proposed 300-space parking garage once they know how much grant funding will be available for the project, which has an estimated cost of about $5.73 million. When Krug completed a comprehensive parking study in the latter part of 2015, he said that the borough could attain as much as $3 million in grants from various sources. His firm has worked with municipalities, including West Chester Borough, on the construction of parking garages.
Advocates for the parking garage project have said that additional, convenient parking in the business district is necessary if the borough wants to attract a larger, cornerstone business to the downtown area.
In other business at the meeting, borough council approved the hiring of two new crossing guards that will be on duty weekdays to facilitate the arrival and departure of school students.
Mayor Geoff Henry issued two proclamations, one recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month during October, and the other recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also in October.