Fresh plans being drafted for Oxford sports complex
by Eddie Burkhalter
Jun 25, 2013 | 4208 views |  0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — Plans aren’t yet finalized, but moves are underway to restart Oxford’s proposed sports complex.

Architects with the firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood met with the council to discuss those evolving plans at a work session after Tuesday’s council meeting.

Preliminary plans show the complex — to be built across from the Oxford Exchange — will include football, baseball, softball, soccer fields, a lake surrounded by a walking trail and several concession stands and restrooms.

Mike Hamrick, lead architect on the project, said plans for the 350-acre project are coming along well and he fielded questions from the council.

Mayor Leon Smith asked for the estimated construction cost for the project, but Hamrick said that figure isn’t yet ready as work on the design continues.

“This is going to be a very nice facility,” said John Bricken, an architect with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, describing brickwork and rail fencing in areas around the sports fields.

Those plans were needed after the city severed ties with former architects of the sports complex, Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, filing a 2011 lawsuit alleging the firm was negligent in their design after ancient human remains were found buried there.

The city has paid about $2 million in construction delay fees and permit fees associated with that discovery, and for work to return the site to its pre-construction state.

The project had been on hold since February 2010, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shut the project down after the remains were found.

The city has since met the requirements of a mitigation plan meant to ensure no more ancient artifacts will be disturbed.

The council in January voted to terminate the city’s contract with Taylor Corporation, the company that was to build the sports complex.

Another of Oxford’s major capital projects is beginning to pay dividends. The council agreed Tuesday to allow Smith to sign contracts, once complete, for the city to host two concerts at the recently completed $10.4 million performing arts center.

Provisions and costs to the city in both contracts are being negotiated with the two musical groups.

The first to take place would be the Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. Ricky Nelson’s twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar, will headline the show, which pays tribute to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame father’s successful musical career. Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 1985.

The multi-media show will consist of the Nelson twins playing their father’s hit songs — like “Travelin’ Man” and “Poor Little Fool” — and will include footage of family home movies and interviews with other musicians.

Matthew and Gunnar had their own success in the 1990s with their band “Nelson.”

The concert is tentatively set to take place Sat., Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.

The second concert will be a performance by the jazz-rock musical group “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” Negotiations are a little further behind with that contract due to equipment requirements from the musical group, said city attorney Bruce Rice. A date has not yet been set for that concert.

Rice said that contract will be ready for Smith to sign “once we can make sure that the specs are OK.”

In other business, the council:

• Annexed 10.83 acres zoned agricultural at 781 and 905 McIntosh Road in Talladega County owned by Phillip Haynes and Debra Wesson.

• Reappointed Anniston attorney Stanley Allen as Oxford’s municipal judge for a two-year term to expire April 10, 2015.

• Awarded a $67,058 bid from Interstate Rescue LLC to purchase rescue tools for the Oxford Fire Department. The tools will equip recent rescue vehicles purchased for the department.

• Announced that the city’s Freedom Festival is scheduled for July 4 at the recently renovated Oxford Lake.

“Let’s not forget about July the Fourth. It means a lot to the city and to our country,” Smith said. “We draw 15,000 to 18,000 people a year…and I think it’s going to happen again.”

• Announced that the city is still in the running to win a dog park. Residents can vote twice daily for Oxford to win at and on Petsafe’s Facebook page.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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