Council approves $1 million contract for Jackson Square parking lot project

Jackson Square Plaza Improvements Map

Note: This story was updated at 11:35 a.m. Oct. 29.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday awarded a $1 million contract for a project funded with help from a state grant to rebuild the Jackson Square parking lot area.

The contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City. Oak Ridge officials will have a pre-construction conference in 10 days, and they are hopeful that work will start in late November, City Manager Mark Watson said.

He said the project could take 180 days, or about six months. That means it would be done before the Lavender Festival in 2015.

The work will include a landscaped pedestrian plaza with parking, an interactive fountain, stone pavers, curbing, asphalt paving, utilities, benches, sidewalks, and upgrades under the American with Disabilities Act. There will a slight increase in the number of parking spaces. [Read more...]

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Sewer rehab work continues week of Oct. 27

More rehabilitation work of the city’s sewer collection pipes is scheduled to continue this week, starting Monday, October 27.

The work is being done by Hurst Excavating and Morgan Contracting under contract with the City of Oak Ridge. It includes rehabilitating sewer collection pipes within city easements in yards and in roadways, a press release said. [Read more...]

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Oak Ridge has Halloween Party on Thursday

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2014 Children’s Halloween Party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, October 30.

Activities include carnival games, inflatables, toddler game room, Halloween cartoon videos, face painting, concessions, glow room, and craft room, a press release said. The Scary Room will have a haunted castle theme. A hayride is planned for Bissell Park, weather permitting.

There is no admission fee to get into the Civic Center, but participation in most activities requires one or more tickets, a press release said. Tickets can be purchased for 25 cents each or as a pack of 25 for $5. The cost of the games, crafts, face painting, scary room, hayride, concessions, and souvenirs is one or more tickets. The toddler game room and cartoon videos are free. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge has second Clark Center Park meeting on Monday

Clark Center Park Water View

A view of Melton Hill Lake near a boat ramp and between two picnic areas at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge.

The City of Oak Ridge is hosting a second public meeting to discuss the possible transfer of Clark Center Park from the U.S. Department of Energy to the City of Oak Ridge. The meeting will be held on Monday, October 27, at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building Courtroom, located at 200 South Tulane Avenue.

At the meeting, City Manager Mark Watson and staff will provide an overview of the Federal Lands to Parks Program as it relates to Clark Center Park and the federal acquisition process. The Department of Energy is undertaking an evaluation of their property on the Oak Ridge Reservation—where Clark Center Park is located—to identify parcels that may be excess to the agency’s mission.

“The Oak Ridge community has had Clark Center Park become an important asset of our city over the years,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “Our meeting is meant to explore the pros and cons of absorbing the park as part of our Oak Ridge park system. We welcome interested residents to share their thoughts with city officials.” [Read more...]

Traffic Safety, Environmental Advisory board member running for City Council

Aditya "Doc" Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara, a member of two city boards, is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election.

In a press release, Savara said he has been involved in local politics during the past two years and served on the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and the Environmental Quality Advisory Board. Savara said he has attended and commented during public comment periods at City Council meetings, is knowledgeable about the issues facing the city, and has been vocal about them.

“In 2012-2013, an ordinance came before Oak Ridge City Council regarding whether property owners Jack and Myra Mansfield could build a single home on their property in a neighborhood zoned as R1, for single-family dwellings,” Savara said in the release. “Adjacent homeowners asserted property values would drop if the Mansfields were allowed to build a home on the open space. I pointed out that the neighbors could have bought the open property themselves if they wanted to keep it as open space. I stated that the neighbors didn’t want to buy the cow, but wanted to have the milk for free, and that it was not too late for the neighbors to make the Mansfields a fair offer. [Read more...]

Clinton 5k on Saturday raises money for splash pad playground

The Clinton 5k race scheduled for Saturday morning in Clinton will raise money for a splash pad playground to be built in the City of Clinton.

The Clinton 5k and One-Mile Fun Run start at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 25, at Lakefront Park in Clinton.

Organizers said the 5k and one-mile race are walker-friendly. [Read more...]

Animal Shelter: 51 animals euthanized due to distemper; donations needed

Oak Ridge Animal Shelter

The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter on Belgrade Road is pictured above.

Fifty-one animals have been euthanized at the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter due to distemper, and donations are needed, Oak Ridge officials said Thursday.

“This has truly been a heartbreaking situation for our staff and volunteers,” the city said in a short statement Thursday afternoon.

The Shelter needs donations of cat litter (non-clumping only), blankets, towels, dry food, and canned food. The donations can be dropped off at the Pet Supplies Plus located at  254 South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Adoptable cats and kittens will be also be at Pet Supplies Plus from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 25.

“Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we try to heal from this devastating blow,” the city said.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

Heritage tourism expert to speak at AMSE community meeting Thursday

Lee Waddell Curtis

Lee Waddell Curtis

The last in a series of four community meetings on the American Museum of Science and Energy will feature a state heritage tourism expert.

Lee Waddell Curtis, director of program development and legislative liaison for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, will discuss the growth and significance of heritage tourism in Tennessee during a Thursday evening meeting at AMSE.

The community meetings have been sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge and the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation. They are designed to gather input on the future of AMSE operations.

A press release said Curtis has an extensive background in cultural and heritage tourism, and her responsibilities include overseeing and developing the Tennessee Civil War Trails program and serving as the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s heritage tourism contact. In addition, she represents the department on several national and statewide organizations, and served as a board member of the state’s Sesquicentennial Commission. [Read more...]

Alternatives to Incarceration to discuss hiring a director

Anderson County Detention Facility

The Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton is pictured above.

The Anderson County Alternatives to Incarceration Committee will discuss the hiring of a director for the Alternatives to Incarceration Department during a meeting in Clinton today (Tuesday, October 21).

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at the Anderson County Detention Facility at 308 Public Safety Lane.

For more information, call Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Captain Larry Davidson at (865) 457-7100.

Ouster suit petitioners, attorney have Q&A session Tuesday

Lynn Byrge

Lynn Byrge

CLINTON—The petitioners in the ouster suit against Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager will have a question-and-answer session with their attorney Gregory Brown in Clinton on Tuesday.

The session will be held at the Clinton Community Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, a press release said. The session will be open to the public and to the media.

A group of 22 Anderson County citizens have appealed a special judge’s decision to dismiss their ouster lawsuit against Yeager. Petitioners have asked their attorney to answer questions regarding the case and the appeal, the release said. [Read more...]

Watson to discuss State of the City at Lunch with League on Tuesday

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson will discuss the State of the City with the League of Women Voters on Tuesday.

During the annual event, Watson is also expected to give his perspective on issues facing the city, a press release said.

The Tuesday meeting starts at noon Tuesday, October 21, in the Social Hall of the new Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church location at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike (north of the Joe L. Evins Federal Building, which is home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office). [Read more...]

AC Commission replaces Phillips with Bates

Zach Bates

Zach Bates

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

The Anderson County Commission has voted to replace Chris Phillips in Commission District 4 with the man whose vacated seat he won in August.

Phillips resigned his Commission seat—won in the August 7 election—so that he could return to work as the county’s budget and accounts director after leaving that post earlier this year to become city recorder in his native Rocky Top. Phillips left the county government to help the town update its accounting practices as it makes the transition from Lake City to Rocky Top and prepares for what is expected to be a busy time for the city. [Read more...]