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Aldermen mull Cedar Oaks' upkeep

OXFORD — Now that Oxford taxpayers own the historic Cedar Oaks home, they — like all homeowners — will have to start paying for the upkeep of their property.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen this week approved transferring the deed for the property from the clubs that had previously owned the antebellum home to the city.

Now city officials are having to put together a budget for the maintenance of the property.

Because the board has given the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau the responsibility of promoting the historic home, Hollis Green, director of the Oxford Conference Center, asked aldermen Tuesday to provide him with the money needed to market the facility, fund the operation costs and pay for the maintenance and capital improvements.

“None of this was in our budget,” Green said. “Going forward, we will be meeting with the mayor next week to formulate a budget for the rest of the year, including capital improvements.”

Among the financial needs of the home, built in 1857, are about $9,500 in general upkeep costs, including utilities each year and additional projects such as a paint job, general siding repair, a new water heater and foundation repairs.

The city has agreed to pay for some work already done — the installation of a new fire alarm and security system to better secure the property.

“We have a house full of antiques out there and we might have jumped the gun a little bit on (installing the new alarm), but it is my fault,” Mayor Pat Patterson said.

However, aldermen held off approving any other payments until a meeting can be held to discuss a budget for the property.

Due to the rising costs of maintaining and operating the home, the previous owners, the Cedar Oaks Board, decided they could no longer afford the home. While the members of two local clubs, the Cosmopolitan Club and Centennial Club, had shouldered most of the responsibility of maintaining the home for decades, they also had overseen how the property was used.

The Cedar Oaks Board asked the city of Oxford to take over the building and property in April 2009.

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