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Chester County Press

Oxford Borough honored with statewide Beautification Award

02/07/2023 12:05PM ● By Steven Hoffman
State Sen. Carolyn Comitta recently presented Oxford Borough officials with the Community Pride Award from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. 
Comitta nominated the borough for the honor for creating a native plant garden adjacent to its new parking garage and its overall community beautification and greening efforts. 
“As a former mayor, I know just how important downtown beautification can be in supporting revitalization,” Comitta said. “It drives business and sales, encourages tourism, enhances community engagement, promotes private investment, benefits the environment, and adds personality, highlighting the character of your community. I want to thank all of the staff and volunteers who take pride in their hometowns and are working to keep Oxford and Pennsylvania beautiful.” 
The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Community Pride Award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship by an individual, school, community organization, or civic group that makes a commitment to litter control, recycling, or general beautification. 
Oxford Borough Council president Kathryn Cloyd said, “I am so grateful to Senator Comitta for nominating us and for the work of the Oxford Area Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). 
“Our EAC chair David Ross is with us today, as is EAC and Borough Council member Bob Ketcham. Our work could not have happened without the partnerships engendered by the EAC, including our partnerships with the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards and Master Gardeners (the regional coordinator for that program, Meghan Hopkins-Doerr is also here with us today. She not only coordinated, she helped with all the dirty work.”
Cloyd added, “Many thanks as well to our partners at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The Trust provided trees for our riparian buffers free of charge, and the Horticultural Society has worked with us to provide street trees for our downtown and the Park. I’d also like to recognize our intrepid Public Works staff for their assistance with watering and composting to give our young gardens a good start. None of these projects could have been completed without our volunteers.
“Many volunteers came out numerous times, in sometimes very inclement weather to help shovel, rake, plant and weed.  Our rain barrel program has provided almost 90 barrels to help residents save money on their water bills while helping reduce stormwater runoff. Thank you to the Dockstader Foundation for providing a grant for the purchase of the barrels and again to the Master Watershed Stewards for providing training on how to install and use the barrels, “ Cloyd said.
Oxford Mainstreet Inc. (OMI) executive director Brian Dix said the organization’s annual downtown beautification efforts begin each March with spring plantings of seasonal flowers in 16 large pots and about 20 hanging baskets throughout the downtown. He said efforts to maintain the plantings and beautify the downtown are supported throughout the year by local business owners, volunteer organizations, and student groups from Oxford Area High School. 
“OMI is honored to be a small piece of the puzzle that makes Oxford the special place it is. Seeing the Borough receive this prestigious award is a testament to the fruitful partnerships our community continues to forge and enjoy,” Dix said. 
Mike Means, a social studies teacher and Head Football Coach at Oxford Area High School, said the team implemented a downtown community cleanup day during its pre-season workout schedule each summer. 
“It’s part of bridging the gap between the athletics program and the community by getting our kids involved in as much as we can in Oxford. It’s something that the team likes to do and we enjoy being able to do it for the community,” he said. 
According to Carrie Conwell, the Keep Chester County Beautiful coordinator and senior environmental planner with the Chester County Planning Commission, Chester County is the statewide organization’s 28th affiliate. 
Since 1990, thousands of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful volunteers have collected more than 152 million pounds of trash from roadways, waterways, greenways, and forests. 
“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful congratulates and commends Oxford Borough for its community improvement initiatives. Clean and beautiful communities are the foundation for community and economic development and we are grateful for the many volunteers who give freely of their time to steward their communities. We encourage all public officials to recognize the noble and necessary work and the special people who coordinate local programs to keep our communities clean and beautiful,” said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.