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Board of Aldermen approve more outdoor dining licenses

A handful more restaurants around the Oxford Square will be participating in outdoor dining.

On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen held a special meeting to approved five new licenses to Oxford Grillehouse, Proud Larry’s, SoLa, The Blind Pig and The Library.

Those restaurants join The Annex, Tangos, St. Leo, St. Leo Lounge, Round Table, Rafters, McEwen’s, Funkys and Julep Steakhouse.

The outdoor dining will begin potentially this weekend as the outdoor areas have begun to be mapped out around the Square with bicycle racks and ramps being installed by each participating restaurant.

“We know it’s an inconvenience to some of our other businesses,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said. “But we know by bringing in extra people to dine means having extra people walking around and going into our shops.”

During the meeting, Oxford’s chief operating officer, Bart Robinson informed the Board that City Grocery and Square Pizza were opting out of the outdoor dining. Robinson said Square Pizza may enter back in later into the three-month period.

The Board also voted to accept $7,100 in donations from Oxford residents to help offset the cost of renting the parking spaces for restaurants.

Zach and Amy Scruggs donated $1,000, Diane Scruggs donated $5,000, Lowery and Marla Lomax donated $1,000 and Steven and Marianne Parks donated $100.

Last week, First National Bank donated $3,000 to help cover some of the first month. The City has now accepted a total of $10,100 towards the leased parking spots.

“We appreciate these very generous donors who have stepped up to the plate to help our restaurants,” Tannehill said.

The city cannot donate the parking spaces since they are considered  public property. Because of that, they had the spaces appraised by two independent companies and the average of both appraisals valued each space at around $192 per month. That means restaurants will have to pay around just under $390 a month, plus a one time fee of $150 to cover the costs associated with creating their outdoor dining space.

With the donations, each restaurant will not have to pay their first month’s rent. For restaurants who choose to only use their outdoor space three days a week, their second month’s rent is also covered. For the restaurants who utilize the outdoor space all week will only be responsible for $170 a month.

Any further donations the city receives will further offset those costs.