Council approves Aldi rezoning, waterfront crosswalk signs, kayak rentals

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday approved a rezoning that could allow an Aldi grocery store on South Illinois Avenue, solar-powered pedestrian warning signs on Melton Lake Drive, and a program to rent bicycles and kayaks at Melton Lake Park.

The Aldi could open on about 1.4 acres in the Woodland Town Center near Panera Bread and Aubrey’s restaurant this fall.

The pedestrian signs, as well as new pavement markings, could be installed at three crosswalks at Amanda Drive, Emory Valley Road, and Rivers Run on Melton Lake Drive.

The work would be done under a roughly $38,000 contract to First Place Finish of Oak Ridge, which could start the project in April and be completed in four to six weeks. It would be paid for using money from a special programs fund set up for revenues from four red-light and speed enforcement camera systems in Oak Ridge.

The kayak and bike rental program would involve Adventures Outdoors of Oliver Springs. The company would use temporary space on Houseboat Row at Melton Lake Park as well as the bar area in the former New China Palace restaurant to rent and store the recreational equipment as part of a pilot program that could lead to a five-year lease agreement in December.

It’s the next step in implementing a waterfront development plan approved by Oak Ridge City Council in December 2009. That plan included key features such as a new picnic pavilion, walking trails, new playground, permanent restrooms, enhanced lighting and landscaping, outdoor casual dining, and recreational equipment rental.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.allison.37 Jason Allison

    This is by far great news but they need to look at the further reaches of Oak Ridge till.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnhuotari John Huotari

      What do you mean?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jason.allison.37 Jason Allison

        I’ve said before, the far reaches being the east and west ends. I happen to just live less than a block from Woodland Terrace so the rezoning is a direct benefit for me but what about the other ends? I realize and commend Oak Ridge for attracting new business but, now it’not way out of the way, these other people are still having to drive to center city.

        • Charlie Jernigan

          Aldi’s first pass was on the east end of Oak Ridge on the turnpike, and of course we have Food Lion on the east side.

          I bet that the choices that Aldi makes are largely based on access through automobile traffic. The more people pass by the more likely they will succeed.

          When traffic picks up on the new west side 4 lane turnpike, better things will start happening out there too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jason.allison.37 Jason Allison

            I agree, Oak Ridge is a little out of the way when it comes to ease of access for new business. There are also a large majority of our citizens who flat out do not want Oak Ridge to grow anymore. We HAVE to step into the 21st century. I grew up here, 37 years, what we had was great, what we have now is slowly getting better.

            Now when I say the ends of Oak Ridge, I mean each end of the Turnpike. Center city is filling up. We do have UGO but that’s not really an everyday grocery store. Oak Ridge is way bigger than just Downtown.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahall479 Sarah Wing Allison

    I personally am excited for our city growth. All the new businesses is just a sign that our economy is bouncing back. We are a growing city and this is something we should be proud of. As a family of 5, I am always looking for ways to save money on my food cost. I travel to Knoxville just to shop at Aldi on a regular basis. Melton Lake Park is a great place for familes to go, I can not wait to be able to do so much more there with my family!! Good job OR!!

  • bill

    I am curious to know if an Oak Ridge based business or person would be interested in the bike/kayak rental business. Why has the vendor been picked already?

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