At Oxford City Council’s Oct. 17 meeting, councilors discussed affordable housing and the opening of a new hotel in Oxford.
Council recognizes Caroline Scott Harrison
Mayor William Snavely opened the session by proclaiming Oct. 25 as Caroline Scott Harrison Day and encouraged citizens to “celebrate her importance here in Oxford and in the White House.”
Scott Harrison was born in Oxford on Oct. 1, 1832, and her father, John Witherspoon Scott, worked at Miami University as a professor. She graduated from the Oxford Female Institute in 1852 and married Benjamin Harrison the following year at her parents’ home on 131 W. High St.
During her time as First Lady, Harrison advocated for women’s education, raising funds for Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1890 on the condition that women be admitted on the same basis as men. She was also the first president-general of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Harrison passed away in the White House on Oct. 25, 1892. A sculpture of her sits in the backyard garden of the Oxford Community Arts Center, “illuminating her importance to the community,” Snavely said.
Council passes resolutions to move forward with new hotel
Council passed a resolution and two ordinances related to the development of a new hotel to be located at 525 N. Campus Ave. The measures included the annexation of land for the hotel, which will be a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, as well as authorizing the city manager to enter into a development agreement with Hotel Group, LLC.
Councilor David Prytherch brought up a concern over whether the light from the hotel’s sign will be visible to neighboring residences. Council opted to amend the ordinance to include a condition that the “visible impact on immediately adjacent properties be minimized,” Prytherch said.
Council approves RFP for affordable housing project
Council passed a resolution directing the city manager to develop a request for proposal (RFP) for the construction of affordable housing in properties on Chestnut Street owned by the city.
The Hamilton YWCA proposed taking over the construction to build safe housing for victims of domestic violence. However, the rushed nature of the request made councilors hesitant. The YWCA would need confirmation by the end of November in order to submit a tax credit application, meaning an RFP would render the organization’s taking on of the project unfeasible.
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“Our original goal was to provide affordable housing for people in our community who work for Miami University … who work in other places in Oxford, and who would like to live in Oxford but can’t afford it,” Snavely said.
Council elected to stick with the original goal and hear other proposals for the project. Council member Alex French said she wanted to see other proposals before proceeding.
“It is such a monumental opportunity that I want to make sure that we're taking the time and doing the due diligence and talking to the Housing Advisory Commission,” French said. “I think that I am erring towards the side of caution and deliberation on this.”
Council will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Oxford Courthouse.