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'If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have this building'
Oxford to honor designer at dedication

OXFORD - Oxford resident Tom Turner retired about 10 years ago, but that doesn't mean he just sits around at home all day.

Turner, who moved to Oxford in 2000, keeps an eye on Oxford, and now he's being honored for his hard work and dedication.

Oxford will hold an open house for its new maintenance facility, which Turner helped design, from 10 a.m. until noon Friday at the shop on Emory Street in conjunction with a reception in Turner's honor.

The idea of a new maintenance facility started several years ago when Turner noticed a problem with the now-destroyed maintenance "shack."

He said the building was in disrepair and didn't serve the needs of the city's maintenance department.

"I took some pictures of it and took them to the (Oxford) City Council meetings," he said.

Turner said he worked with the Oxford City Council members to get the workers into a suitable space.

He spent about a year - day and night - designing plans for a new facility with no pay from the city, he said.

"I always work that way - 24/7," Turner said. "When I retired, I was still a work-a-holic."

After finishing the design and spending several months in negotiation with Sunbelt Builders, which was collaborating with Turner on his design and building the shop, it was finally erected in late 2006; concrete pads and other finishing touches were added in 2007.

"It's something great," Turner said of the new building. "We put a lot of effort and a lot of work in it. It's better."

The new facility now houses all of the city's work vehicles and provides adequate work space for employees.

Before, city maintenance workers said some of their equipment and vehicles would sit out in the rain and bad weather, and the building wasn't big enough to conduct all of the work that needed to be done. Employees said they are grateful to Turner for the work he lent to the project.

"He went over his volunteer duties to get this done," said Scottie Croy, assistant supervisor of the facility. "If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have this building."

Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry said the city hasn't held an open house for the facility yet because it was trying to wait until the landscaping was complete, but the drought put a damper on those plans.

He said the city decided to have an open house now, as well as a reception to honor Turner for his many volunteer hours and his continued dedication to Oxford, rather than keep waiting.

"The work he did was worth many thousands of dollars," Roseberry said. "He's dedicated his time, and we appreciate that."

Roseberry said at the open house, which is open to the public, residents may take tours of the facility and ask city maintenance workers questions.

"This is the opportunity for citizens to meet the employees and see what they do during the day; this is a good idea to get everybody acquainted with them," Roseberry said. "(The facility) belongs to the citizens, so they ought to enjoy it."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Oxford's maintenance shop open house and reception for designer Tom Turner

· When: 10 a.m. to noon Friday

· Where: Oxford's maintenance facility on Emory Street