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Lamar Park

Pat Lamar’s vision for a quiet community green space lives on in Oxford.



Written and Researched by Leslie Criss  |  Photographed by Joe Worthem

 

“My mother was very accomplished, and was not in it for the recognition … It was her love of community. I know she loved ‘Patsy’ Park and considered it one of her most valuable accomplishments.” — Lucius Lamar

 

Though the signage welcoming people to a beautiful green space in Oxford says Lamar Park, lots of locals refer to the place as Patsy Park. No matter what you call it, the park is named after Pat Lamar, who served eight years as Oxford’s first female alderman. Later, she was elected her city’s first female mayor and served from 1997 to 2001.

 

Before the park existed, it was the site of the Oxford Country Club, but Lamar had a vision for the property. It was designed as an outdoor arboretum, a place for park visitors to enjoy the green space, walking trails, garden features and a lake with a small pier, stocked with fish to allow young generations to learn the sport. The lake is known as Lake Patsy. Now, more than 20 years since it opened, the park remains true to Lamar’s vision. 

 

“My mother was known as Pat Lamar in an official capacity, but to all those who knew and loved her, she was Patsy, hence the name for the lake,” said Lucius Lamar, the youngest of the three children of Pat and Dr. Wayne Terry Lamar. 



Unlike other public parks where there are spaces and courts for sports, playground equipment for kids, skateboarders on sidewalks, loud music and large planned gatherings, Lamar Park would be peaceful and quiet, a place where people could appreciate nature. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed.  

 

“That’s exactly the way my mother wanted it,” said Lamar. “The property became available initially to become a residential development. Mother knew that Oxford was growing at a swift pace, and she wanted to make sure there were areas carved out to accommodate this growth and preserve it for the next generations.

 

“The reason the park did not allow skateboards, formal gatherings and such was that there were already places dedicated to these things. My mother wanted this to be a place of beauty and of quiet contemplation and to exercise the extraordinary benefit of being with nature.”

 

During her tenure as mayor, Lamar also led a beautification project on the Square, making sure there were plenty of green spaces.

 

Pat Lamar died Sept. 28, 2012, at the age of 71.

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