Panel Approves Pocket Park Changes – The Oxford Eagle

The Oxford Courthouse Square Preservation Commission this week discussed proposed changes to the city’s future pocket park.

Commissioners and staff reviewed plans for the pocket park at 107 Courthouse Square to consider the building materials and design of the park as part of the streetscape. Proposed and announced in early 2021, the park will offer nearly 7,500 square feet of green space and provide a path from the plaza to the parking lot behind City Hall.

“The original intent of the project was to create a winding, gently sloping path that connected the plaza to the parking lot behind City Hall,” said Special Projects Manager Mark Levy. “We wanted to welcome [Americans with Disabilities Act regulations] without the use of a lot of guardrails.

Six steps were added to the east side where the parking lot meets the property and moved the proposed ADA ramp behind City Hall to allow people with disabilities to access the courthouse through the park.

The concept designs also show a relatively flat area along the trail that will encourage different types of activities.

“We moved the flat area that used to be the stage – we don’t really call it a stage but it could be used as a stage – to the front,” Levy said. According to him, it would serve more as an elevated podium because the size of the “stage” cannot accommodate a large group. “We were asked to do it and it makes sense because if there’s a crowd it could take place in the street.”

Proposed changes also include walls of seating throughout the park, public Wi-Fi and electrical outlets creating space for residents to work, play or simply enjoy their afternoons.

“Generally speaking, the space will resemble or at least be consistent with the work done on East Jackson last summer,” Levy said in reference to the East Jackson Streetscape project. “We are proud of how it turned out and expect similar results at this park.”

When news of the demolition first broke, community members became concerned about the time capsule placed in the old courtyard. The capsule was planted on July 4, 1976 by a 6th grade class and its opening is scheduled for July 4, 2076.

Levy mentioned during the meeting that the capsule was secured during demolition.

“We were able to salvage the time capsule and the plate that was behind the time capsule over there in the back parking lot,” Levy said. He made no mention of where the capsule was currently stored.

The Courthouse Square Preservation Commission unanimously approved the design changes to the park.

Construction bids will open in a week and a half to two weeks from now, according to Levy. Once the offers have been collected, the staff will appear before the college of aldermen to award an offer. The city expects the park to be completed by September of this year.

Comments are closed.