Jenni Wiener, Staff Writer

The Oxford Community Improvement Corporation (OCIC) held a board meeting March 26 to discuss the status of the community and how to better it with a new demographic/marketing plan.

According to Alan Kyger, executive director of OCIC, the Oxford community has one of the lowest income rates in Butler County.

“With a high number of students who make around $3,000 to $5,000 a year, Oxford looks like it has a high number of poverty level people,” Kyger said. “We look bad on paper, but in reality, our value as a community is one of the highest.”

Because of the large Miami University student population, the city of Oxford has weak demographic reports that do not show companies the true spending potential of the city. Therefore, companies looking to expand would be less likely to choose Oxford over somewhere with a better demographic, Kyger said.

This new demographic/marketing plan is asking firms or individuals to create proposals on how to show the true retail and restaurant potential for the city.

Kyger said the firms must be able to profile not only the buying habits of the full time residents of Oxford, but also the buying habits of the students at Miami to be successful.

The proposals will then be evaluated by Kate Currie and Richard Daniels of OCIC and another member from the Oxford Community Developmental Department. These members will choose which proposals are seen by the city council.

Proposals must be submitted by March 31.

During the OCIC meeting, the board motioned to approve the Revolving Loan Fund Application. By approving the application, the city can lend a restaurant up to 40 percent of the money they need to begin. Kofenya and Patterson’s Café are among the restaurants that have used this loan, and Arabian Nights Authentic Lebanese Cuisine has recently submitted an application for a loan.

Also, Mike Davis, the Talawanda representative, said the building of the new high school is expected to start April 5 and hopefully be done by summer 2011.

“The big headline is that with the help of the city and a lot of folks, we finally got our building permits,” Davis said. “As far as the building itself, the brick, mortar and steel, we are pretty much good to go at this point.”

Davis went on to say weather is a big factor in beginning to build and could cause delays in the progress of the building.

Toward the end of the meeting the board also motioned to endorse a plan of development to accommodate a new hotel in the area. Jim Clawson, vice president of OCIC, said the new hotel would have 74 rooms, which would bring 20 more jobs to the community.

“It would be a win-win situation,” Kyger said. “The hotel could bring business, jobs, taxes and occupancy without creating competition for house leasers.”

Miami University sophomore Kim Rich agreed with Kyger.

“A new hotel in Oxford would definitely benefit the community,” she said. “When my family comes to visit from New York, they always have a problem finding somewhere close to stay. This new development could be a solution to that problem.”

Clawson said the hotel is still up for approval by the city.

The next OCIC board meeting will be early to mid April.