Oxford Borough secures additional funding for parking garage project
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough has moved another step closer to funding the construction of a parking garage in the downtown by securing an additional $143,836 in state funding to support street improvements related to the project.
State Sen. Andy Dinniman and State Rep. John Lawrence announced the funding in a joint statement released late last week.
With this new grant, Oxford Borough is closing in on having $5 million in funding from local, county, state and private sources to fund the project, which includes a parking garage, a transit hub that could lead to more access to public transportation for borough residents, as well as a new borough administration building. The overall costs of the total project are estimated to be approximately $7 million.
Proponents of the project see it as an opportunity to solve Oxford's longstanding parking issues, and also as a way to boost economic development in the downtown.
In his statement announcing the grant award, Dinniman said, “This project is key to supporting the continued growth and economic revitalization of downtown Oxford, which is making great strides in attracting new businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents. I’m committed to the success of Oxford and committed to working in the spirit of bipartisanship to ensure that downtown Oxford gets the support it needs to grow and flourish for years to come.”
The most recent grant will help pay for street and pedestrian access improvements to ensure safety around the new parking garage. This will include the reconstruction of and repairs to Second Street (between Locust and Mt. Vernon Streets) and Octoraro Alley (from Second Street to the entrance of the new transit center). This new grant funding for the project comes through Act 89 of 2013, Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan, which increased transit funding and established dedicated multimodal funding for aviation, passenger rail, rail freight, port and bicycle-pedestrian projects.
State Rep. Lawrence has been a supporter of the parking garage project from very early on, and has personally played a part in helping the borough work through some of the issues that have arisen along the way.
“This project is vital for Oxford and the surrounding community,” Lawrence said in a statement. “The parking and transit facility will provide core infrastructure to support the continued renewal of downtown Oxford. Grant funding like this is very competitive – by working together with Senator Dinniman, Oxford Borough, and Oxford Mainstreet Inc., $5 million has been committed to making this project a reality.”
The Oxford project was part of 45 multimodal transportation projects across 22 counties that were approved for $41.5 million in state funding. It was selected from more than 220 applicants. PennDOT will open the next round of Multimodal Transportation Fund applications on Feb. 26, 2018, with applications due on March 30, 2018.
Oxford secured $578,077 in funding through the Chester County Community Revitalization Program in 2016, and another $500,000 in 2017. Another $540,000 was received through the DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund. The borough also received $285,822 in grant funding through the DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund. Additional funding is coming through a state grant program. Oxford is also utilizing a $1 million gift that had been presented to the borough more than a decade ago by an anonymous donor who wanted the money to be used for the acquisition of a new borough building.
Oxford Borough officials are understandably pleased with the funding that has been made available for the project.
“As the mayor of the greatest small town in America, I am thrilled to be a part of the development and growth in Oxford,” said Oxford Mayor Lorraine Durnan Bell. “Our economic growth is vital to the expansion of business and quality of life for all. I am excited to be a supporter of the new multi-modal transportation center, which will be instrumental in the revitalization project that has been flourishing through the recent past and will continue in our future.”