Katherine Kohls

December marks the one-year anniversary of the installment of three new members to Oxford’s City Council after November 2007 elections.

City councilors Richard Keebler and Doug Ross said the council has accomplished a lot in a year, especially with regard to zoning issues.

Oxford citizen and local architect Scott Webb said, “(The city council) seemed divided at first but recently has been working well together.”

Keebler said that updates made to the Oxford Comprehensive Plan over the last year were a great accomplishment for the council. The Comprehensive Plan had not been updated since 1998.

“Citizens were able to put in their input as to what they wanted the city to look like,” Keebler said.

The Comprehensive Plan is an outline of development goals for the city as well as strategies to achieve them. The content is a compilation of information gathered through focus groups, public gatherings, and community studies.

Webb said the council handled the updates to the Comprehensive Plan well, particularly the change to a more fair and equitable method of developing uptown.

According to Ross, there is time at the beginning of each meeting for citizens to give ideas.

Webb was in attendance for several city council meetings while the changes were made to the Comprehensive Plan. His development at Stuart Square was originally opposed but is now held as a model development in the Comprehensive Plan.

While Ross said that the Comprehensive Plan is a waste of money, he said that the city council has made great strides in becoming more open.

“(The city council) has a willingness to listen to dissimilar ideas,” Ross said.

According to Ross, living in a college town while trying to serve the interest of citizens can be difficult. Ross said he is continually impressed by the input and ideas presented by the Associated Student Government (ASG) representatives.

Mayor Prue Dana said the council strengthened ties with the Miami University, especially with the creation of the Student Relations Committee.

According to Keebler and Ross, the citizens would like to see an improvement in city facilities, particularly a new police building and law building.

“We have an excellent staff that deserves better,” Ross said. “We have 20th century facilities while we are smack dab in the middle of the 21st.”

Ross also said that he would like to make progress in improving the leaky public pool on Fairfield Road.

Another issue that is important to the community, according to Ross and Keebler, is the density issue of Oxford.

Dana said the city is working on rerouting traffic through construction of a connector road between U.S. Route 27 South and state Route 73.

“This road would help with safety and congestion problems,” Dana said.

Keebler said he would like to see the borders grow.

According to Ross, many citizens would like to see the borders of Oxford become more regular and defined.

“Our border lines look like a pancake on acid,” Ross said.

According to Ross, Oxford has many good leaders at this point.

Dana said that good leadership will play an important role in sustaining Oxford through the economic crisis.

“If we can all hold onto our hats and take the long view, we’ll be okay,” Dana said.