January 23, 2013 - It's important to continue having community events in Oxford, but they need to be the product of cooperation between multiple community entities, not just left to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to coordinate, promote and fund everything.
That seemed to be the general consensus at Monday night's DDA board meeting.
Many of the folks who spoke felt events do help bring visitors downtown which in turn, helps give businesses potential customers.
"I do believe that we do need to have events for families," said Lisi DeCampos, an Oxford resident and owner of Ella Fashion at 24 S. Washington St. "(During) some of the events (it has) been very beneficial for my business to have people walking downtown and seeing my (store) windows."
"I think events are a good thing," said Robb Leland, owner of downtown's ArtCapsule. "They're a good thing largely because of the way they've been promoted, I believe, through DDA funds. Doing a lot of advertising outside the Oxford area I think is a very good idea."
Leland noted he's "impressed" by how many non-Oxford residents attend these events. "(The merchants) really like to see people come discover Oxford from other areas," he said. "I think these events are really important for that."
"I can't tell you (the number of) people that I talk to from Lake Orion that want to come to Oxford because we have those events. That's business development," said DDA Board Member Tom Jones, who owns Funky Monkey Toys. "These events (are) good for people and they do attract business."
By the same token, these folks don't believe the community should continue to rely upon the DDA to be the sole coordinator, promoter and financier of events.
"I would like to see other entities helping you," said DeCampos, who pointed to the Oxford Chamber of Commerce and Oxford Township Parks and Recreation as examples. "Why do all of the events (have) to be DDA events?
"I really would like to see the schools involved. They've already got so many buildings in our downtown. I love the schools here – that's why I bought a house in Oxford."
DDA Chairman Bill Dunn agreed.
"I don't want to get out of (doing) the events," he said. "I want to participate financially and using my time, but I would like to do that in conjunction with other groups, whether it be the schools, parks and rec., Oxford Township (or) the village. I think it truly has to be a community event rather than just the DDA."
"I have no problem with this board walking away from retail events," Jones said. "I do think that retail events are a vital part of this community, though, as long as somebody picks up that ball and continues on with them."
DDA Director Madonna Van Fossen noted "we are going to be working with the other entities."
"There's a meeting on Wednesday (Jan. 23) at 10 a.m. with the schools, with parks and rec., with the chamber and with the village," she said. "All four organizations are in agreement that we do need to work together and we do need to share the responsibility. Everybody that is coming to the meeting is pretty much on the same page."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.