Oxford City Manager Doug Elliot requested council’s approval in last week’s meeting to apply for $1,362,571.52 in grant funding that will go toward a construction project along High Street between Patterson Avenue and South Campus Avenue.

Miami University will supply $212,901.80 in additional funding for the project. The project is at no cost to the city of Oxford and should commence between 2019 and 2020.

The request to apply for funding was unanimously approved.

The proposed construction entails creating a landscaped median down the center of High Street with multiple crossing points where pedestrians can cross halfway without waiting for two lanes of traffic at a time. The project will eliminate two of the four current cross points on High Street to allow for a better flow of traffic.

While the plan does not include a bike lane on High Street, Elliot said the eventual hope is for the sidewalk to be converted into a dual-use sidewalk for both cyclists and pedestrians.

There will be a diverse mix of trees planted along the landscaped median, as to avoid certain tree-boring pests from potentially wiping out the entire section.

Another $4.8 million construction project previously approved by the university Board of Trustees will take place over the coming summer. A landscaped median will be placed down Patterson Avenue, the intersection between Patterson and Chestnut Street will be revamped with new retaining wall gates on either side of Patterson to the university and the city, brick pavers will be placed in the intersection and a left-turn only arrow from Patterson onto Chestnut will be instituted.

Council briefly debated whether it would be best to close the intersection entirely for the summer to complete the project more quickly or keep it partially open for the sake of convenience. A decision on the type of closure will be made in the pre-construction process.

An additional crosswalk will be added to state Route 73 between Western campus and Cook Field with more lighting.

Other highlights of the meeting include Mayor Kate Rousmaniere proclaiming May 12, 2018 as the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Food Drive Day, where city residents can place nonperishable food items near their mailboxes on that day and postal carriers will collect the donations for the local food pantry.

Carol Michael from Oxford’s ShareFest asked the public to consider volunteering for the ShareFest event from May 16-22 where a dispatcher is needed for smooth operation of collecting donations. Those interested can learn more on their website at sharefestoxford.com.

A resolution to grant Wilcon Construction the contract to build an aquatic center was unanimously approved. The center will include an eight lane 25 yard competition pool, a leisure pool with a lazy river and various slides, two pool houses positioned to block the wind and excessive sun and 150 parking spaces.

The project is slated to break ground in August, and should be ready for the 2019 pool season. The city will be accepting donations to go toward the funding of the pool in addition to the $4,825,000 in Bond Anticipation Notes that were approved to fund the project.

The second reading of the ordinance establishing a minimum pay rate for city employees led to a discussion that built off of the comments made in the prior council meeting.

Candi Fyffe, human resources director for the city of Oxford, defended her choice of the $8.50 minimum for some part time employees.

“We can’t compare ourselves to a large employer like Miami University, and we can’t compare ourselves to Cincinnati,” Fyffe said.

Councilmember Chantel Raghu reiterated her stance that the minimum was set too low.

“I know we are going to come back to this in November, but I can’t vote for this as is,” Raghu said.

Raghu was the only vote against the ordinance.

The ordinance to establish a Public Arts Commision was unanimously approved in its second reading.

Council’s next meeting will be held May 15 at 7:30 p.m.