Photos: Building demolition near Magic Wok

Magic Wok Building Demolition

The demolition of the commercial building next to the Magic Wok restaurant is pictured above on Sunday, March 29. The area to the left most recently housed the Tienda Nony grocery and Appalachian Frame Shop (both stores have relocated in Oak Ridge), and the area to the right housed the Classic Cleaners. (Photo by Julio Culiat)


The demolition of the commercial building next to the Magic Wok restaurant started earlier this month.

Pictured above to the left of the Magic Wok is the demolished portion of the building that once housed the Tienda Nony grocery and Appalachian Frame Shop. (Both stores have relocated to new locations in Oak Ridge; Tienda Nony is in a shopping center off Bus Terminal Road, and Appalachian Frame Shop is at Grove Center.) The area to the right of Magic Wok once housed the Classic Cleaners.

In November, a city board ordered the building demolished within 30 days. The demolition order, which was issued earlier this month, does not apply to the Magic Wok, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building. [Read more…]

Planning for national park, Park Service tours Jackson Square, K-25, ORNL, Y-12

Vic Knox of National Park Service

Vic Knox (Photo by D. Ray Smith)

Note: This story was last updated at 12:37 p.m.

Planning for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park has started, and federal officials this week toured Jackson Square, the former K-25 site, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Stops included the Alexander Inn, Chapel on the Hill, the former K-25 Building site, the Graphite Reactor at ORNL, and two buildings at Y-12: Building 9731, a pilot plant, and Building 9204-3, also known as Beta 3.

“Several of those sites are just amazing,” said Vic Knox, associate director of park planning, facilities, and lands for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. “They seem like they are just the way they were in 1943. It seems like they take you back in time.”

Oak Ridge was built as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s fist atomic weapons during World War II. Besides Oak Ridge, the new national park includes Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. [Read more…]

ORPD responds to reports of lockdown, active shooter; no shooter found

Oak Ridge Police Department Logo

The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a Jackson Square office that had been locked down on Thursday morning because of reports of an active shooter, but officers could find no signs of one, a press release said.

The office lockdown was reported at about 11:10 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Jacobs Engineering offices on Broadway Avenue. The ORPD received several calls that the offices were locked because of an active shooter, the release said. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Farmers Market opens April 18

East TN Farmers Association Logo

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market opens for its 39th season in Historic Jackson Square on Saturday, April 18.

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The market will also be open on Wednesdays beginning May 6.

Here’s what’s new at the market this year:

  • Senior Day every Wednesday! Seniors over the age of 60 get 5 percent off their purchases at the Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market.
  • FARM Fan Club—Members receive text reminders and shopping rewards. To sign up, visit the website at
  • Kids’ Day, May 23, from 9-­11:30 a.m., with live farm animals, crafts, games, and a FARM scavenger hunt for children ages 5 to 12!

The Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market will also host live music and workshops on topics such as herb gardening and composting all summer long. [Read more…]

Demolition work starts on building next to Magic Wok

Tyrone Road Building Demolition-east-end

Demolition work has started on a commercial building on East Tyrone Road just east of the Magic Wok restaurant. Demolition work on the east end of the building is pictured above on Friday afternoon.


Demolition work has started on a commercial building on East Tyrone Road behind the popular Magic Wok restaurant. On Friday, an excavator had started demolishing the eastern part of the small shopping center. A demolition permit was reportedly issued this week.

In November, a city board ordered the building demolished within 30 days. The demolition order does not apply to the Magic Wok, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building.

The building owners had previously considered preserving about 5,500 square feet in three units on the western side of the property, among a few options. But on Friday, Oak Ridge Community Development Housing Specialist Matt Widner said that portion won’t be preserved. Instead, the entire building will be demolished, Widner said. [Read more…]

City crews treat all streets by Thursday, now working on water main breaks

Oak Ridge Snow Plow on Oak Ridge Turnpike on Feb. 17, 2015

An Oak Ridge snow plow is pictured above at center on Oak Ridge Turnpike, which was mostly clear on Tuesday evening, February 17. 


Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department had treated all 230 miles of streets by the time they left work on Thursday, and they’re now battling a half-dozen small water main breaks.

Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder said crews focused on what are known as Level 3 and Level 4 streets on Thursday. They removed all loose snow. But there could still be patches of ice on some roads, Cinder said.

“You can’t get ice off the street until you get much warmer temperatures,” he said. [Read more…]

Sponsored: Let’s spice things up, Valentine!

Spice Society Chili Powder

Spice Society Chili Powder


Organic, non-GMO herbs and spices. Come take a whiff.

Available at The Ferrell Shop at 235 Jackson Square in Oak Ridge. The Ferrell Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The shop is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Call (865) 483-0961 for more information.

Valentine’s Day: Bissinger’s Chocolate since 1847


Bissingers Signature Classic Chocolate

Bissinger’s chocolate: Fine chocolate made from all-natural ingredients for Valentine’s and every day.

Available at The Ferrell Shop at 235 Jackson Square in Oak Ridge. The Ferrell Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The shop is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Call (865) 483-0961 for more information.

Construction work starts on $1 million rebuild at Jackson Square

Jackson Square Parking Lot Fencing

A work crew began installing construction fencing between the city-owned parking lot and the sidewalk in front of businesses at the U-shaped Jackson Square shopping center on Monday. It’s the start of a $1 million rebuild of the parking lot in the city’s original town center. 


Construction work has started on the $1 million rebuild of the parking lot area at Jackson Square, Oak Ridge’s original town center.

Crews started putting up construction fencing on Monday. Project executives and city officials plan to complete the work in 180 days, or roughly six months—before the Lavender Festival in June.

The construction contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City by the Oak Ridge City Council in October. [Read more…]

City board to reconsider repair, demolition orders for Tyrone Road building

Wender Building

The deadline for the demolition of a commercial building that once housed The Oak Ridger newspaper on Tyrone Road near Jackson Square expires Thursday, and after a five-month postponement, a city board will reconsider a repair or demolition order for the building that day. Under plans announced in May, the Magic Wok restaurant, which is separate from the building, would remain, as would a small northwestern portion of the building.


The deadline for the demolition of a commercial building that was once home to The Oak Ridger newspaper and other businesses on Tyler and East Tyrone roads expires Thursday, November 13, and a city board could reconsider a repair or demolition order that day.

The partially occupied commercial structure has been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations, the city staff said.

The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals previously tabled the repair or demolition order for five months to allow for partial demolition in preparation for the construction of the remaining building. The demolition deadline expires Thursday, and permit applications are to be submitted to the city by December.

The potential demolition and repair orders to be considered Thursday would not apply to the separate manufactured structure that now houses the popular Magic Wok restaurant. [Read more…]

2014 Election: Interest in mayor position, mall redevelopment, better ties with BOE

Oak Ridge City Council Candidate Forum

Nine of the 10 Oak Ridge City Council candidates are pictured above. From right, they are Kelly Callison, Rick Chinn, incumbent Anne Garcia Garland, Warren Gooch, Gary Love, incumbent David Mosby, Pedro Otaduy, former Council member Ellen Smith, and Eric Tobler. Not pictured is Aditya “Doc” Savara.


A majority of the Oak Ridge City Council candidates said they would consider running for mayor or vice mayor if elected on Tuesday, and almost all supported the incentives recommended for the proposed redevelopers of the former Oak Ridge Mall.

The candidates were mixed on whether to bring back red-light cameras, and most seemed to think the city’s property tax rate is about right, in light of current budget needs.

Asked to grade the current Council as leaders, the candidates handed out grades ranging from “A” to “F.”

In a series of recent forums, the candidates generally advocated for better communication between the City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education and, for the most part, seemed to be in favor of taking over Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge, although their approvals would hinge on factors such as cost and property restrictions.

There are 10 candidates running for four seats on the seven-member Council in Tuesday’s election. Two of the incumbents—Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby—are seeking re-election—and two others—Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller—are not.

Many consider it a critical election, with a business boom under way and major projects on the horizon, including the proposed redevelopment of the mall and the planned $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 National Security Complex.

The new Council is expected to elect a new mayor and mayor pro tem (like a vice mayor) during its next meeting after Tuesday’s election.

Here is a look at some of what the candidates said during the recent forums. [Read more…]

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…]