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Promote Oxford Now (PON)
PO Box 11
Oxford, NY 13830

Promote Oxford Now, or PON, is an organization, mostly made up of local business people, that seeks to promote the Oxford business community, to recognize and maintain Oxford's historic nature and to respect its hometown character and culture. It was a movement that evolved, from a need, over several years. The first organized group that preceded PON was called the Oxford Revitalization Project, Inc..

The Gazebo todayThe Oxford community originally formed a small, not-for-profit, incorporated committee of concerned members under the name of the Oxford Revitalization Project, Inc.. Oxford's "hey day" of the Canal transportation, bluestone mining, Oxford Academy boarding house, and the hotels, was long over. Changes over the century caused a decline in Oxford's appearance. By the late 1970's, the town needed a financial "shot in the arm" and perhaps a bit of a "facelift" too. The first project the Revitalization group decided to tackle was to get the original, 1876, "pagoda" back into Washington Park. It had been cut, boarded up, and moved to a distant location. The group raised funds to have this once handsome, gazebo moved back to its original location, and then had it restored. Architectural renderings had to be made from photographs, since so much of its original appearance was lost to the ages. Paint scrapings were analyzed in Albany, NY, to get the paint color restored accurately. The final results were spectacular. This proved the Revitalization Project could accomplish what they set out to do. The original historic beauty of Oxford was veiled under layers of neglect, and it was time to remove them. Many benefactors to Oxford are responsible for much of the way Oxford's restored architecture looks today.


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Residents and established business owners knew the town's long history and country charm, but to give Oxford a future, she also needed some good publicity to revitalize her. A craft fair seemed just the thing to get the town's name in the paper, bring some business into the area, and serve as a fund-raiser. After a great deal of organization and many hours of work, the group successfully produced the "Chenango Canal Arts & Crafts Festival". It was a high quality, juried craft fair, which became known as "Canal Days", held in LaFayette Park at the end of August. At first the show was very small, but it grew over the years. Guest artists were judges, and these jurors would give cash awards. Radio and print advertising touted the names of the Oxford business sponsors. As anticipated, people came in droves, from miles around, to see and buy some unique handmade wares. The show was a success for about a dozen years.

Hanging Baskets from Promote Oxford NowAnother fund-raiser, was a painting by Grant Dolge (from Tully, NY), which the group commissioned. It was of the Oxford "Pagoda" in Washington Park, and prints were sold. Tee-shirts with designs by local artists, were also sold to raise funds. The committee decided to create a permanent exhibit of fine works too. Over the years, a number of pieces were purchased from artists that participated in "Canal Days". They were donated for display, in public spaces, to demonstrate the talent that was here. (Later on, they were donated, with plaques, to the Oxford Library and the Historical Society.) The Revitalization Project was managed by a Board of Directors, which, over the years, consisted of many members of the community. It was eventually disbanded in 1996.

Some of the same people, and a few new business people, that were interested in promoting Oxford knew that a new group needed forming. It would have to be voluntary, and generate its own income. It was then that Promote Oxford Now was created. PON, as it came to be known, also attempted to bring in people to Oxford, to improve local business, and beautify the town that they were already proud of. They developed a (non-juried) craft and antiques fair, held in LaFayette Park, which was called "Spring Fling". In the early years, a hot air balloon kicked off the event at 6:00am! Later, hundreds of people came to buy baskets, pillows, homemade jams, antiques, and more. The Oxford Community Band played; there was face painting; scarecrow building; bike rodeos; buggy rides; and a great show and bird display by "The Raptor Project". As desired, the town was bustling with people. Unfortunately, however, the burden of organization fell on just a few individuals, and it made the event difficult to continue.

A PON brochure was developed with advertising for all its business members. The brochure was distributed in shops and restaurants all over Chenango County. It was and is a big hit. Each year membership grew, as did the brochure. A list of the members was located on a website to help promote Oxford. The brochure grew into a quarter-fold, glossy edition. PON became established, and its name, and Oxford, has gained recognition. The business climate in Oxford has improved.

PON also develped a beautification plan. They assigned some of the funds for decorative annual plants. Profusely flowering hanging baskets, with dazzling blooms, make the center of town look something like a resort. Maintenance for the plants has been shared over the years by a variety of community members. In December, holiday decorations are put up in LaFayette Park. In the past, decorations would go on the evergreens, and wooden figures depicting a cheerful scene of Santa's workshop were displayed on LaFayette Park. Most recently, it's been a "Festival of Lights!" A tree lighting ceremony kicks off the season (November 29th, 2009), with everyone invited to sing carols, and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies afterwards. If anyone would like to place our poster for this event in their place of business, please use this linked PDF version.

New plans are in the works at the PON meetings for an exciting new fair. Unlike the craft fairs that they've had before in Oxford, this one will be an Agricultural event! Central New York's "Festival of Farms" is proposed for 2006. It will be a fine example of "Agritourism": the act of bringing consumers and farmers together for the purpose of education, entertainment, family fun, and income enhancement. In addition, 3rd/4th year SUNY Morrisville students could help organize the Agritourism festival for college intern credits. Watch for details in the News sidebar of this site.

On a grander scale, in 2001, PON members discussed and drew up an overall, long-term proposal for the Village. Ideally, if funds would permit, hiking trails, that loop around both East and West sides of Route 12, would be created. Four trails have been proposed: the "Healthy-Heart Trail"; the "Challenge Trail"; the "East Side Historic Loop" and the "West Side Historic Loop".

The purposes of this effort were to provide for safe pedestrian movement for children using the schools and the outdoor athletic facilities in the Village; provide safe corridors for joggers, walkers and strollers, thus encouraging healthy habits and lifestyles among villagers; and to connect natural and historic features that reflect Oxford's sense of place.

One consideration was to redefine Route 12 into a "Village Main Street". A grand vista of sidewalks basically from South of the Village, nearly all the way to the North end of Route 12 by the Soccer Farm. This welcoming walkway could be planted with street trees, and set with pedestrian-scale street lamps lighting the way. It would make a greater area for shops and restaurants, encourage long holiday parades, and an area (safe) for strolling, shopping and lingering.

Another idea that came out of PON was to create a landmark: a Burr Truss Pedestrian Bridge to cross the Chenango River. Burr was an historic bridge truss designer/builder who lived in Oxford, NY. If it were possible to build, the proposed bridge would be a tribute to Theodore Burr, and it would attract fans of covered bridges, from all over.

Since the 2001 proposal, headway has been made on the "River Walk" trail by the Oxford Garden Club and the Headwaters Youth Conservation Corp. (directed by "The Place" in Norwich, NY). Slowly and steadily members of the community are making progress. It all started with a PON plan!

All of these ideas and improvements have come out of the members of PON. Anyone who is inspired to help and be a part of the promoting of Oxford may join. They will be included in the widely distributed brochure, receive the PON newsletter, be invited to PON meetings (where they will meet other concerned/involved members sharing enthusiastic ideas), as well as inclusion on this new website. You can also be a "Friend" of PON - no business connection necessary - just support in any way possible (time/energy/suggestions). All contributions are gratefully accepted. This website was also conceived by a member of PON, Roy Petersen (of Woollybear Web).

 

    

Now-May 31, Art of Katie Thomas Exhibit at 6 On The Square.

Thursdays at 10 AM, Preschool/Toddler Storytime at Library in the Community Services Room.

Thursdays at 6:30 PM, Rotary Club Meeting (every Thurs.) at American Legion Post #376.

Thursdays "Trapshooting Thursdays" at the Oxford Rod & Gun Club. Check with them for scheduled times.

April 26, 9 AM, Arbor Day Ceremony & Tree Give-Away in LaFayette Park.

April 26, 12 PM/Noon, Oxford Historical Society Board Meets at Depot-Museum.

April 26, 4:30-6:30 PM, UCO Pork Dinner & all the trimmings at United Church of Oxford Fellowship Hall of the Fort Hill building, across from the Library.

April 26, 7:30 PM, Cheryl Wheeler at 6 On The Square. Rick Gottlieb will open for Cheryl.

April 29, Noon - 5 PM, Blood Drive at High School.

April 29, May 27, June 24, 7:30 PM, the Village Board of Trustees meeting. (Last Tues. of month.)

April 29, May 27, June 24, 7 PM, Drumming Circle at 6 On The Square. (Last Tues. of month.)

May 3 & 17; June 7 & 21, 7:30 PM, Karaoke at Legion Post 376. Open to public. (1st & 3rd Saturday/mo.)

May 3, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Red Cross Blood Drive at American Legion Post 376. Enter to win a $50 Lowe's gift card.

May 3, 7:30 PM, Marjorie Thompson at 6 On The Square.

May 4, 7:30-11 AM, Don Utter Benefit Breakfast, Bake Sale & Raffle at American Legion Post 376.

May 7, then June 4, 7:00 PM, American Legion's SAL Meets at Post 376. (1st Wed/monthly. Not in Jan. or Feb.).

May 10, 8 AM - 2 PM, ALA's Great Garage Sale Day & Bake Sale Shop for housewares, crafts, baked goods, have lunch and more at Oxford Legion Post 376.

May 10, then June 14, 5-7 PM, Second Saturday Spaghetti Dinner at St. Paul's Church.

May 12, then June 9; 7:00 PM, AL Auxiliary Unit 376 meets (2nd Monday/mo.) in Legion Post 376. (No meetings in July or August.)

May 13 & 27, June 10 & 24, etc. 7 PM, Lions Club Meeting at Fred's Inn Restaurant. (2nd/4th Tues)

May 14, 10 AM, OIDC meets (quarterly mtgs.) at Village Hall.

May 15, June 19, July 19, 7:30 PM, Open Mic at 6 On The Square. (3rd Thrs.)

May 19, June 16, 7 PM, A.L. Legionnaires Meet at Legion Post 376.(3rd Mon/month)

May 21, June 18, July 16, 7 PM, Library Board Meets at Library. (3rd Wed.)

May 26, 9:30 AM, Post 376 Memorial Day Parade stepping off at American Legion Post 376.

May 28, 7 PM, Annual Meeting of Riverview Cemetery Association at Library.

May 31, 7:30 PM, Brian Ashley Jones at 6 On The Square.

June 10, 7 PM, Oxford Historical Society presents Linda Lewis-Moors Habitat volunteer who went to New Orleans. Held at Oxford Historical Museum-Depot.




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