Oxford Needs Help for Presidential Debate

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

The University of Mississippi is expecting around 3,000 journalists for a Sept. 26 presidential debate.

And with just months before the event, Oxford city officials are trying to make sure all visitors are accommodated.

David Swider keeps a pretty clean house, but come late September, he says his two-bedroom apartment will be spotless.

"I'm not going to be here. Why not offer it up for rent?" said Swider.

"We are now turning to our citizens in Oxford, asking them to open their homes, their condos, and apartments," said Christy Knapp of the
Economic Development Foundation.

A Web site has been established for journalists to browse. You see, Oxford only has about 700 hotel rooms, which are all fully booked. And if the number of estimated visitors proves to be accurate, the city is now around 2,000 short. But Knapp said she feels confident Oxford residents will practice some of that famous southern hospitality, for a nightly charge, of course.

"We are hoping to get $400 a night, because we are close to the square and we will have the Internet and everything they need. So I think $400 is all right," said Knapp.

While houses and apartments of all types are in need, those that are close to the square and close to campus are in high demand.

"They are here to work, here to cover the debate, and here to experience Oxford, and so we want them to stay as close as possible," said Knapp.

And if potential renters slacked on their spring cleaning, they may want to get started now. The property must be clean, linens and towels must be provided, closet space in each bedroom and refrigerator space must be available. Plus renters will need to supply toiletries, a coffee pot and coffee, plus a TV with cable.

Swider's asking price of $400 night is realistic. The Web site lists an entire house for $200 to $450 a night.

Before homes may be listed, inspectors will tour the properties to make sure they're appropriate. Officials are also seeking available houses and apartments in surrounding communities.


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