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Street Talk

Valley Benefits When Oxford Does Well

By Mickey Howley

Last week in the news there were some interesting facts and figures. Facts and figures we should pay attention to. I’m not talking about the figures and facts of the Dan Jones non-contact renewal, thought those are very important. Nope, lost in the uproar over IHL’s late Friday announcement about Jones’s release was the release by the US Census Bureau of the 2010 to 2014 population change figures. And, in a way, they are related to the Dan Jones story.

Here’s the numbers. Lafayette County leads the state by far with nearly a 12 % population growth in 4 years. Next was Lamar at 8%, Madison at 7%, and Harrison at 4.5%. Yalobusha County lost population at about 2%. That’s right we are still losing population while being next to the fastest growing place in the state. Note this is a county-by-county count, so it could be at the west edge of the county is losing and Water Valley is holding steady. I hope that is the case and we are getting some bit of Oxford’s growth. Why? Because either holding steady or better yet even a small amount of growth means the place holds value.

Yes, that’s right less population and the value of everything essentially drops. My house, your house, all businesses become worth less when there are fewer people who might want to purchase a house or patronize a business.

Now on the Dan Jones thing. Let me say I’m biased about Dan Jones. The first time I met him it was during an intermission at a theater play at Ole Miss. During intermission I was standing outside talking to him and his wife. And oblivious as I am, when I went to sit back down, my wife asked me if I knew with whom I was chatting. I said, “some guy named Jones.” To which she replied, “That’s the new chancellor, stupid.” He seemed like a regular guy that first time. I’ve seen him since, also. Please note he is also technically my wife’s boss. But more important than that, when he comes to Water Valley he has made substantial purchases on this Main Street. Let me just say his checks are good.

And here is the connection about Jones and the positive census numbers. People move to Oxford because of the university. Even if the move is not directly for Ole Miss, it still is indirectly related to Ole Miss. That’s just the way the place works. And for many it is about living in a place where there are good schools. And it is easy to say and prove there are good schools from kindergarten to graduate school in Oxford. And Water Valley should benefit when Oxford does well. It would be a mistake not to.  And make no mistake Dan Jones has been very good for Oxford and that’s good for us.

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