The plan of revamping the Locust Street area will be put on hold at least for another semester. Public sessions were held in order for local business owners and officials to voice opinions of how to make the area more lucrative and attractive to the Oxford community and Miami University students. The city has many sources of input; from architecture students to Front Street Analytics, a marketing firm.
The editorial board of The Miami Student applauds the Planning Commission for maintaining strong communication through public sessions and the future round table discussions with Front Street Analytics. Including a wide variety of voices is very important in determining the future of Oxford.
Although bringing a firm in to reassess the Locust Street situation is costly, the benefits are very likely to outweigh the price.
However, the Planning Commission must not be shy in enacting a new zoning policy if it is truly going to promote business growth and sustainability. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are examples of popular, thriving businesses, but their inability to be zoned to meet the new code should not hold Locust Street from living up to its potential. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell may be replaced with other businesses that could satisfy Oxford’s needs and live up to the zoning code.
The board looks forward to more businesses in the Locust Street area, especially in the old Wal-Mart lot, which creates an awkward eye-sore, especially compared to the pedestrian-friendly High Street and Stewart Square locations. Oxford is already rich with a wealth of dining options. Exploring other business models, such as outlet stores and other niches that have not been filled in Oxford’s other commercial areas will encourage long-lasting economic growth.
The board suggests the Planning Commission continue to include a variety of voices in the Locust Street planning, especially when it comes down to welcoming new businesses.
Students are full of ideas and with Miami’s many resources for business, urban planning and architecture, the board believes Locust Street can become a model for cooperative, interdisciplinary and resourceful development.