The city of Oxford is working with Lafayette County officials and FNC, Inc. to build a new frontage road along Highway 7.
Last week, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors agreed to seek a $2.3 million Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay for the construction of the north leg of a frontage road that would connect Office Park Drive North to Highway 7 near Lyles Drive.
FNC Inc., an Oxford-based mortgage technology firm, intends to build new offices in this location.
This will bring at least 300 new jobs in the coming years, according to Glen Evans, president of the firm.
Max Hipp, president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, said the road would break up the need for road crossings on Highway 7.
“The intersection will be cluttered, and as the road would be so close to the (location of FNC’s expansion), it is needed,” Hipp said.
Currently, FNC has about 310 employees, with most working in the Oxford headquarters on Office Park Drive and a few others working in satellite offices in New York, Dallas and Southern California.
FNC, Lafayette County and the city of Oxford will each pay approximately $80,000 of a $230,000 share of the grant, with the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Aldermen having agreed to pay their respective one-third of the share.
Flooding concerns have been raised by residents about the construction of a new road after current construction on Highway 7 has reportedly led to increased flooding of parts of the local neighborhood.
County supervisors have said that they will work to help alleviate the flooding problems and that they hope to have a meeting with Mississippi Department of Transportation officials to make sure the flooding concerns are heard.
However, Hipp said flooding concerns were mostly due to a blocked culvert under Highway 7 that MDOT has said would be replaced. He does not believe the new frontage road will have any impact on flooding.
“The road would simply have bridges over the stream so that there is no restriction of flow,” Hipp said.
The grant could be awarded as soon as summer 2013 if the city of Oxford meets the criteria.
Hipp said construction of the north leg could be completed in as early as two to three years, as the road is currently in the planning stages. A south leg is also being planned but could take longer and will be paid for by MDOT as part of its budget.