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Oxford City Council praises geospatial technology use

City council declares Nov. 15 as GIS Day in Oxford.
City council declares Nov. 15 as GIS Day in Oxford.

At Oxford City Council’s Nov. 7 meeting, Mayor William Snavely praised Miami University students and faculty for their interest in geospatial technology and their incorporation of it within the City of Oxford.

A day to promote geospatial technology

Snavely adopted a proclamation making Nov. 15 “GIS Day” in order to promote the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in Oxford. The proclamation honored Miami students as well as Zachary Moore, city planner and GIS coordinator, and Robbyn Abbitt, GIS coordinator at Miami. 

“It all boils down to this: a love of maps and making maps,” Moore said. “In our increasingly digital world, the use of GIS is becoming more vital.”

Moore, Abbitt and a team of Miami students are responsible for the recently revamped trail kiosks scattered along the trails in Oxford, which accommodate both new and returning hikers in the area. This feat, said Snavely, would not be possible without Miami students lending a helping hand. 

“We couldn't do the good work we are doing without collaborating with people like you and the City of Oxford,” Abbitt said. “Thank you [council] for always saying ‘yes’ when our students come knocking on your door.”

Abbitt said she has over 70 Miami students that went on to work for the City of Oxford following graduation.

Citizens raise caution about Oxford’s affordable housing initiative

During the public participation section of the city council meeting, four citizens expressed their concerns about Oxford’s current route in pursuing affordable housing initiatives.

Kathy Titus and her husband Harry Titus spoke early in the meeting about their concerns regarding the rezoning of three lots purchased on Chestnut Street by the City of Oxford. Their concerns stemmed from the fact that the government-owned properties would then lower the value of their property, which is near the purchased lot.

“What plans do you have to prevent Chestnut Street from becoming a negative picture of government assisted housing?” Kathy Titus asked.

Titus also feared that a group shelter would disrupt the quiet, safe nature of her neighborhood, which is predominantly an elderly and female community. Ann Bailey, a fellow Oxford resident, agreed.

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As a member of the Oxford Area Solutions for Housing, Bailey proposed to council to amend Oxford shelter staffing for winter months, in order to support the influx of homeless who are outside in the cold months.

“We cannot forget the poorest of the poor, those who are unhoused living in tents or cars,” Bailey said.

The council addressed these comments at the close of the meeting, telling the Tituses’ that their complaints were heard and valued by the council.

Council will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Oxford Courthouse.