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Oxford economic development director proposes creating business improvement district

Economic development director Alan Kyger and Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene presented their plan for introducing a Business Improvement District (BID) during the March 3 City Council meeting. 

The BID, as explained by Kyger, would be managed by businesses that signed on. Businesses that are a part of the organization will pay a fee that could go toward programs like “clutter removal,” such as snow and leaf litter removal. 

“It’s a tool,” Greene said. “It allows private property owners in a self-defined area to have an assessment to go above and beyond what the city is doing. They decide how the money is used.”

Greene said the city currently contributes $37,000 annually to services like flower and holiday light installation and litter pick up. The BID would be organized to fund projects the city doesn’t already cover. 

The BID is in the beginning stages — Greene and Kyger are still discussing it with businesses around Oxford. There are two ways the BID can take shape: either 60 percent of street frontage property owners or 75 percent of land area property owners must agree to it. 

“We believe that Uptown is the front door to our community,” Greene said. “We know that a strong and vibrant Uptown helps us all.”

Kyger emphasized that the BID is not government-run but will run itself. Kyger said Ohio law requires that the BID’s Board of Directors be composed of at least five members. Four members must be property owners within the BID, and the last is a member of the city of Oxford staff. 

“I’m just going to be honest, the ones we really want on the committee that would really do a good job are already doing a good job,” Kyger said. “So it’s going to be hard to get them on board.”

After Kyger and Greene’s presentation, Mayor Mike Smith announced Kyger’s retirement beginning on March 31. Kyger has spent over 30 years in Oxford’s government in roles such as mayor, City Council member and his current role, economic development director. 

“His exceptional knowledge of Oxford will be hard to equal,” Smith said.

Smith also named Thursday, March 5, as “Alan Kyger Day” in honor of Kyger’s service to Oxford. 

“It’s always a pleasure to work with Alan, not only in terms of his wisdom, but his collaborative approach to solving problems,” said Council member David Prytherch. “How do you build consensus to make your community better? I think Alan was always willing to work with anybody.”

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City Council next meets at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 in the Oxford Courthouse.