In partnership with Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi, my administration developed the LOU Transportation Plan that was adopted in 2019. This is an in-depth guide to Oxford’s transportation needs and plans to be implemented over the next 25 years, and allows us to prioritize City of Oxford’s needs together and seek funding with a unified voice and plan.
Oxford’s transportation infrastructure remains one of the greatest challenges for our growing community. I am so proud of the improvements that have been realized over the past four years with the completion and opening of two major thoroughfares: George G. “Pat” Patterson Parkway (connecting West Oxford Loop to College Hill Road) and F. D. “Buddy” East Parkway (connecting Sisk Avenue Extended to Highway 6 and Highway 334). Instead of waiting on MDOT to improve the intersection of Highway 7 and Sisk Avenue, the City of Oxford partnered with a local developer and utilizing the City’s first Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) Program completed three roundabouts in 55 days making access to schools, businesses and the Oxford Conference Center much easier. Other transportation projects including a roundabout at South Lamar Boulevard and Belk, and the realignment of Office Park Drive and Azalea Drive were completed. There are numerous projects in the planning stages and others on the drawing board, we will continue to push forward in securing funds for future roads.
Focus on Transportation Needs
My administration has secured $4.75M in funds from the State Legislature over the past two years that will be utilized to update the intersection of Highway 7 and University Avenue. The project total will be approximately $9M. We will continue to work with MDOT and our State Legislature to find ways to get this project moving.
I have met with officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation about expediting road projects to help the growing need in our community, but they have insisted that they do not have the funds. With MDOT funds nonexistent and Federal funds diminishing for road projects, I am committed to finding creative ways to finance future road projects.
While our 20th-century transportation grid was designed around the automobile, 21st-century cities must embrace an integrated approach to public transportation. Oxford has done this well. Our Oxford University Transit System is incredibly effective and successful carrying more than 1,000,000 passengers each of the past four years.
Sidewalks and bike paths are important to our future needs in moving people from place to place. We will continue to consider all means of transportation as Oxford grows.
Water, Sewer and Capital Improvements
Oxford has many infrastructure needs both above ground and underground. Our sewer and water systems are aging and in need of major upgrades to support the number of people in our community. We have been blessed to have had both good leaders and adequate funding to repair and replace it over the years, but we are still in need of extensive upgrades.
Over the past four years, water and sewer upgrades have been facilitated across our community – from upgrades at several of our water treatment plants, sewer rehabilitation and extensions, new lift stations and extending water and sewer to new water tanks at the old Whirlpool location and in Oxford Commons. We were proud to secure $1.7M from the Army Corps of Engineers to help with the costs of these projects.
In addition to infrastructure improvements, capital improvements including the new Ulysses “Coach” Howell Activity Center, the Parking Garage, the Armory Pavilion, and turfing of fields at mTrade Park have been completed over the past four years.
It is astonishing to look back over the past four years and see that more than $72M in new infrastructure, facility upgrades and capital improvement have been completed! We have been busy, but our work is not done.