Ox­ford fi­nally gets new main­te­nance shed

First de­signs were drawn up in 2004

The Covington News - - Local News - By Michelle Kim

Most peo­ple know Feb. 29 as the day that comes once ev­ery four years in leap year, but in Ox­ford, the day now car­ries added sig­nif­i­cance.

At the long awaited open house cer­e­mony on Fri­day for Ox­ford’s new main­te­nance fa­cil­ity on Emory Street, Mayor Jerry Rose­berry pre­sented vol­un­teer Tom Turner with a plaque declar­ing Feb. 29, 2008 as “Thomas Turner” day to thank him for his count­less hours and tire­less ef­forts in bring­ing about the fa­cil­ity.

“He got done what needed to get done,” said for­mer Ox­ford Mayor Don Ballard, on whose watch the project be­gan.

Turner, a New York na­tive, army vet­eran, and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer by trade, had moved to Ox­ford in 2000 to es­cape the snowy New York win­ters. The 70-year-old sought to have sev­eral di­lap­i­dated and aban­doned houses near his home torn down, and saw an op­por­tu­nity to up­date the fa­cil­ity as well when he was ap­pointed on a Cit­i­zen’s Com­mit­tee by Ballard.

Ballard de­scribed the old fa­cil­ity as a “hog pen.” There was a small shed for the work­ers and the equip­ment was left out to weather the rain and the el­e­ments.

Turner be­gan draw­ing up de­signs in 2004 for a new fa­cil­ity on his home com­puter, which “blew its mind out,” he said. Half­way through the process, he got to­gether with de­sign­ers from Sun­belt Builders and they com­bined the best of their ideas to present to the city.

A con­trac­tor told Rose­berry, who had headed the Cit­i­zen’s Com­mit­tee, that the hours that Turner de­voted to the project, in de­sign­ing and see­ing the project through, was worth tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. Turner did all of it for free.

At the cer­e­mony, Turner thanked fam­ily mem­bers and other key play­ers, in­clud­ing Ballard, Rose­berry, coun­cil mem­ber Vir­gil Eady, Brenda Sweat, Charles Green of the Dekalb Main­te­nance De­part­ment, Jonathan and David Eady, and Sun­belt Builders.

He had worked on the de­sign but left the pol­i­tics to Ballard, he said with a laugh.

There was op­po­si­tion to the project along the way, but, said Ballard, the pro­po­nents of the project didn’t pay it much at­ten­tion and went on ahead.

“If they can’t ap­pre­ci­ate it, some­thing’s wrong with them,” said Ballard.

An au­di­ence of about 20 peo­ple came out on Fri­day to marvel the $1.2 mil­lion dol­lar fa­cil­ity that houses all the equip­ment and sup­plies along with of­fices for the staff.

As Ox­ford’s big­gest project, it took about two and a half years, al­though the open­ing was post­poned be­cause of the drought, which de­layed the land­scap­ing.

As­sis­tant Su­per­vi­sor Scot­tie Croy pointed out the build­ing will help the de­part­ment’s 10 trucks, which cost about $100,000 each, three pickup trucks and two trac­tors, and other equip­ment and last much longer.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Progress: Ox­ford’s new main­te­nance fa­cil­ity on Emory street is fi­nally ready for use.

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