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Chester County Press

Oxford officials discuss a new comprehensive plan, police training, and the importance of the Oxford Library

04/24/2023 10:31PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Mark Gallant, a senior community planner for Chester County, presented a draft of the new comprehensive plan to Oxford Borough officials at a council meeting last week.
“This is a 10-year plan and we thank all those who helped,” Galant said. “I believe this is the first individual comprehensive plan the Borough has held. We welcome those individuals who are interested in looking at this first draft. It will be available at the Borough of Oxford for anyone wishing to view it. Final adoption will be in July, but before then the Oxford Borough Planning Commission will be reviewing it and also holding a public meeting.”
Oxford Borough Council has been gathering public input to possibly change the name of Octoraro Alley. 
After careful consideration of the public’s input, Council decided that the name of the alley will not be changed, and will continue to be known as Octoraro Alley.
Oxford mayor Phil Harris presented a proclamation to Andy Ralston of the Oxford Library Board to highlight National Library Week, which runs from April 23 to 29.
Harris said, “The library is the heart of the town. It serves people of all ages for free or at a nominal charge. Librarians are professionals who provide expertise on a variety of subjects. I encourage everyone to visit the library.”
Like all local libraries, the Oxford Library provides a gathering spot for the public to attend meetings, educational classes,  and numerous library events for young and old alike.
The library also provides critical access to those who don’t have computers or access to the Internet. Students who need computer access to complete school assignments can find that at the library. Adults looking for employment, or researching how to sign up for social security, medicare, or information about government services can also access the Internet at the library.
Police Chief Sam Iacono informed council that the police department will continue to move forward with the accreditation process. According to Iacono, the Police Chief’s Association will perform a mock assessment of the police department and building. In June, the firm charged with accreditation will also perform a live assessment.
The Live Scan machine is also nearing completion of the necessary process before it will be operational in the police department, Iacono said.
Chief Iacono and Sgt. Coverly, as well as other officers, continue to receive training in active shooter situations.
The police department received 717 calls for the month.
Borough manager Pauline Garcia-Allen informed council that the active transportation open house was well attended. They were hoping for more involvement for the Spanish session. However, Council member Peggy Ann Russell did bring in some Spanish speaking youth who did provide helpful insights for the committee.
It was reported that the Oxford Borough Water Department staff visited Downingtown Water Authority with the recommendation of David Bush to check out their water department, water meters and other items that might be of interest. They are currently in process of developing a strategic plan for their department.
Garcia-Allen reminded council that the official kick-off for their strategic planning with Keystone Municipal Solutions through a DCED grant will be coming up. The grant will assist the borough with financial changes and updates, including reviewing their history of expenditures and revenues. It is the first stage of their financial analysis which will also include meetings with department heads.
The Borough continues to proceed with upgrades and improvements to Niblock Alley.
Junior council member Annabelle Bressler informed council that the Dance-a-thon raised over $10,000 for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Graduation is scheduled for June 2 and the final day of school is June 12.
In other business, council approved the following motions:
A motion amending Chapter 15, Motor Vehicles and Traffic, to designate accessible parking spaces for parking by handicapped individuals on borough streets. 
A Finance Committee recommendation regarding a required change from LIBOR as the underlying rate index for the Borough’s Fulton Bank loans.
A resolution to file a grant application with the Chester County Department of Community Development for Chester County Community Revitalization Program Grant funds for improvements to Niblock Alley, the Broad Street bridge and the adjacent retaining wall. Garcia-Allen told council that a meeting was held with the railroad, and engineers with the railroad plan to work with borough’s engineers. If the grant application is successful, the  project is expected to be a $2.4 million project.
A resolution to file a grant application with the Chester County Department of Community Development for Chester County Community Revitalization Program Grant funds for improvements to Mt. Vernon, Pine, and Maple streets.
A conditional approval of the memorandum of understanding to work with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission under its EXPO: Experimental Pop Ups Program. The program works on small- and low-cost projects to improve pedestrian safety, traffic calming, and more. Garcia-Allen said, “The timing for this is great. It will work well with the Active Transportation Plan. OMI and the Oxford Arts Alliance will be working with us on Broad and S. Third Street.  
A curb waiver request for 43 S. Fifth Street.
A curb waiver request for 261 S. Third Street.
An HARB certificate of appropriateness for 305 Market St. for Ashanti Naturals.
Council also discussed a parking request for Neighborhood Services Center, which is asking for free metered spots for their clients. Clients are financially challenged and cannot afford parking tickets. This will be discussed further by council.
Council will also continue to discuss Chapter 21, Part 7 of the Oxford Borough Code regarding sidewalk construction and repair.
The borough’s engineers, SSM, sent a letter about the intersection of Second Street and Lancaster Avenue. Recommendations will also be discussed at future meetings.
The next borough council meeting will be held on May 1.