By Samantha Brunn, The Miami Student
Oxford was named one of the best hometowns in Ohio in the November 2016 issue of Ohio Magazine.
“It’s so beautiful here,” Oxford’s mayor, Kate Rousmaniere, said. “There’s nature and shopping and an awareness of environmental concerns. We have bike paths, and the town is accessible in that way.”
Oxford is home to college students and locals alike, with a majority of the economic development shaped around the university community. In fact, the town of Oxford was laid out a year after Miami University was founded in 1809.
“There are some disadvantages to the economic reliance on the student population,” Rousmaniere said. “Plus, it’s only for nine months out of the year. But, our relationship with the university has always been quite good and is getting even better.”
The interconnectedness of Miami and the surrounding Oxford area can be seen through the development of the Uptown area, with many restaurants, bars, and boutique shopping destinations. Additionally, many locals are former Miami students that never left, according to the article.
The Oxford community continues to work with the Miami population in order to improve the community as a whole, said Rousmaniere. Student groups are currently working with the community to improve lighting and sidewalks Uptown as well as working to rethink how alcohol violations committed by students off campus are handled.
“When you live in Oxford, you feel like a part of the Miami community,” said Micayla Statum, a first-year at Miami and an Oxford native.
Statum took gymnastics, skating and swimming lessons on the Miami campus growing up.
“It’s kind of a small town, so people kind of know each other, which I’ve always liked,” Statum said. “Some people don’t like that. They don’t want everyone to know what they are doing, but I think it’s a nice community feeling. I always remember going to the library when I was little, and they always had events for kids, and I would know the other kids because they were always there.”
Peter Sturni, an Oxford resident, also expressed his appreciation for the Oxford Public Library, especially for his two young children.
However, Sturni said he feels Oxford may not be the best place to raise a young family, as there are limited community opportunities for families with small children, and the Uptown area is more catered toward the college population.
“I think one thing that bothers us here is that there are not a lot of quality restaurants,” Sturni said. “Whereas Hamilton has been restoring their historical buildings, Oxford has been tearing them all down and turning them into an outdoor mall style with pubs. It takes away from the character of the small town. It feels like it’s attempting to be a suburban development.”
Rousmaniere said her hope, looking to the future, is for students to be more conscious of the community they are now a part of while still enjoying their time at the university.
“Often, Oxford’s small town idyllic atmosphere in the summertime seems to draw visitors to the area,” Rousmaniere said.
She believes Oxford’s ranking in Ohio Magazine’s article is a result of the reporter’s summertime visit to the community after a local resident nominated Oxford for the award.
One of the draws Oxford had for Sturni’s family when they first moved to the area, Sturni said, was the highly rated Talawanda school district.
Statum said she was homeschooled throughout most of her childhood until her junior year of high school and couldn’t attest to the school district as much as she could the general camaraderie of the community.
“There was a girl in a really bad car accident last year, and she had a really bad head injury,” Statum said. “The whole town was incredibly supportive. There was a huge fundraiser for her and her family.”
Students can take an active role in this state-wide recognized community atmosphere by attending and volunteering for events hosted by the Center for Community Engagement.