Taste of Anderson County offers local food, music; benefits United Way, Free Medical

Taste of Oak Ridge

File photo courtesy Atom Ray Photography

 

The Seventh Annual Taste of Anderson County will be at Jackson Square on Saturday, September 19, and it will feature food and local musicians.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a sampling of food from some of Anderson County’s best restaurants, which will showcase their fare in small, taste-sized portions, a press release said.

“This event is a great opportunity for local restaurants to share some of their favorite dishes, while proceeds will benefit the United Way of Anderson County and the Free Medical Clinic,” the release said.

“Tastes” from each vendor will be priced from $1 to $4 per item. Tickets will be available to purchase for $1 at entrances to the event. Attendees may buy as many tickets as they like; in addition, beer and wine will be available for sale. [Read more…]

Construction: Part of Broadway to close on Saturday mornings for Farmers Market

Oak Ridge Farmers Market and Jackson Square

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market is pictured above with Jackson Square in the background. The section of Broadway in front of Jackson Square will be closed on Saturday mornings for the Farmers Market until more parking becomes available. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market will be set up differently at Jackson Square starting Saturday, July 11, and for the next six to eight weeks to provide additional parking for customers.

Because both Blankenship Field and Jackson Square parking lots are closed for repaving, the City of Oak Ridge will be closing Broadway Avenue every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon in front of Jackson Square until more parking becomes available.

This will allow some farmers to set up on Broadway Avenue, while others will remain in a smaller area of the Farmers Market parking lot, allowing more space for customer parking. The Farmers Market will not block any sidewalks in Jackson Square, so that customers can still get to the shops and businesses there, a press release said. [Read more…]

Schedule: Installation of Jackson Square fountain could start July 27, last four weeks

Angel Rich Johnson and Roger Flynn

Angel Rich Johnson, left, president of Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City, and Roger Flynn, Oak Ridge Public Works engineer, are pictured above at Jackson Square on Monday, January 5, 2015. The Jackson Square renovations started in January.

 

Note: This story was updated at 2:15 p.m. July 7.

Installation of the interactive fountain at the center of Jackson Square could start July 27 and last four weeks, according to an estimated construction timeline.

The sidewalks and the majority of the parking lot have been finished, and Roger Flynn, acting Oak Ridge city engineer, said he has discussed project completion with Rich Construction, the contractor for the $1 million rebuild of the Jackson Square parking lot.

Construction started in January, and enough paving work was completed that merchants and vendors were able to have the annual Lavender Festival at Jackson Square on June 20. Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of August.

Flynn told merchants in a June 24 email that the remaining work is expected to take place in this order: [Read more…]

Merchants frustrated with progress at Jackson Square; protest sign posted

Jackson Square Parking Lot Renovations Sign

There has been some frustration among merchants at Jackson Square about not being able to use the partially paved parking lot while they wait for renovations to be completed. This protest sign saying “Free Our Parking Lot!!” was posted on Wednesday.

 

Merchants have grown frustrated with the pace of renovations at Jackson Square, and on Wednesday a protest sign was posted. “Free Our Parking Lot!” said the sign, which has since been removed.

For now, the parking lot inside Jackson Square remains closed off behind construction fencing as work continues on a $1 million renovation mostly funded by a state grant awarded in 2012.

But merchants wonder why they can’t use the parking lot since it was used for the Lavender Festival on June 20.

Compounding their frustration is the closure of the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field. It’s one of two lots on the north side of Broadway Avenue and Jackson Square. Employees at nearby businesses who used to park in the Blankenship Field lot are now using the second lot, the one used by the Farmers Market, reducing the parking spaces available there, one merchant said.

The Blankenship Field work, which was approved by the Oak Ridge City Council in June, is also causing concern for the Farmers Market. The Farmer Market’s vendors set up in the second parking lot on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and they now don’t have parking available at either the Blankenship Field lot or inside the Jackson Square lot. [Read more…]

Photos: Lavender Festival on Saturday

Lavender Festival in Oak Ridge 2015

The Lavender Festival celebrates “all things herbal” in Jackson Square from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 20, 2015. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The Lavender Festival celebrates “all things herbal” in Jackson Square until 3 p.m. today (Saturday, June 20).

It’s the 17th annual festival, and there is no cost to attend. Here are photos by Julio Culiat.

The Lavender Festival focuses on herbs, health, gardening, and cooking, and it features more than 100 vendors, a dozen herb and health presentations, children’s activities, and many musicians. Vendors line the covered walkways of Jackson Square, the parking lot, and both sides of Broadway Avenue, which is closed to traffic.

See this previous story for more information.

[Read more…]

Lavender Festival celebrates herbal products on Saturday

Lavender Festival Crowd

The Lavender Festival will celebrate “all things herbal” in Jackson Square on Saturday.

The 17th annual festival is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. There is no cost to attend.

“Jackson Square has been under renovations since January, but they are expected to be finished in time for the festival, which will go on as planned,” organizers said.

They said free parking is available in surrounding city and business lots, and on side streets.

The Lavender Festival focuses on herbs, health, gardening, and cooking, and it features more than 100 vendors, a dozen herb and health presentations, children’s activities, and many musicians. Vendors will line the covered walkways of Jackson Square, the parking lot, and both sides of Broadway Avenue, which will be closed to traffic. [Read more…]

Crunch time: Crews start paving Jackson Square parking lot

Jackson Square Paving June 15, 2015

Work crews started paving the new parking lot at Jackson Square on Monday, June 15, preparing it for this weekend’s Lavender Festival.

 

Work crews started paving the new parking lot at Jackson Square on Monday, preparing to put down enough pavement to have the Lavender Festival there this weekend.

Workers won’t stripe the pavement before the annual festival, and they may have to finish paving the parking lot after the festival, said Roger Flynn, Oak Ridge’s acting city engineer.

He said he is optimistic that enough work will be done that organizers can have the festival, and vendors know that the project won’t be complete.

Crews will temporarily remove exterior fencing around the square for the festival. And workers will fill in ditches and other areas to prevent tripping, Flynn said. [Read more…]

Kids Day at the Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market on Saturday

Kids Day at the Oak Ridge Farmers Market

Photo by East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing

 

Don’t miss Kids Day at the Oak Ridge Farmers Market in Jackson Square this week. This free event on Saturday, May 23, will feature live farm animals, crafts, games, music, and a chef at the Market offering samples of the season’s best produce.

Kids Day activities are from 9-11:30 a.m., while the market is open 8 a.m.–noon. The highlight of the morning is a kids FARM Market Scavenger Hunt. Children will hunt for live farm animals and other interesting items brought by the farmers from their homes. Among the items they’re bringing are small farm animals, beekeeping gear, a sheep fleece, an anvil, and more!

Entertaining songs for kids and kids-at-heart will be provided by Tom Beehan, banjo player and former mayor of Oak Ridge, and several of his musical friends.

Children will have a chance to learn about healthy eating with a “My Plate” craft activity led by Anne Brock, author of the popular blog FlourSackMama.com. [Read more…]

Gooch: Main Street No. 1 priority, gives updates on National Park, reappraisals, airport

Main Street Oak Ridge Site Plan April 16, 2015

Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch on Tuesday said his number one priority for the community is the successful development of Main Street Oak Ridge, which would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall. Pictured above is a cropped picture of the Main Street Oak Ridge site plan as of April 16. A link to a larger PDF version of the plan is included in the story below.

 

Note: Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch gave an update on positive developments and challenges during a talk to the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge on Tuesday, May 5. Here is a lightly edited version of his remarks, which organized the positive developments and challenges into sections. Gooch was appointed mayor by the seven-member Oak Ridge City Council on November 24. This is his first four-year term on the City Council.

It is a distinct privilege for me to serve as your mayor, but I always preface my remarks by saying that I am not speaking today for Council or for the city manager. I have one vote on Council, but I do consider myself to be the chairman of the board of directors for the city.

In that capacity, as I enter my sixth month of service as mayor, I want to share my thoughts about positive developments in our city, discuss near-term challenges that we face, share the results that I have from the community survey that I have been conducting, and leave time for your questions and comments.

First. My number one priority for our community is the successful development of Main Street Oak Ridge (which would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall), and it is moving forward. Last week, Crosland Southeast announced that MDC Development Group of Atlanta will be the hotel developer for the project. MDC is also a major developer in the senior housing industry and 15 months ago opened Canterfield Oak Ridge Assisted Living. It has been very successful and well-received in our community.

I was advised yesterday (Monday, May 4) that the retail leasing component of the Main Street project is moving forward, as are the negotiations with a developer for the multi-family housing component of the Main Street project. Groundbreaking and demolition for Main Street is on schedule to begin by June 30. [Read more…]

Blankenship Field parking lot project could cost $225,000

Blankenship Field Parking Lot

The lower parking lot at Blankenship Field, which is used for football games and high school graduation.

 

A parking lot paving project at Blankenship Field could cost $225,000, according to an engineering estimate, a city official said Monday.

The City of Oak Ridge is working with the Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation to address some questions about the work, Public Works Director Gary Cinder said at a City Council meeting on Monday.

The Oak Ridge City Council agreed in May 2014 to use $180,000 in traffic camera money for improvements to the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field, which is used for football games and high school graduation. [Read more…]

Jackson Square fountain won’t be ready by Lavender Fest, but other work should be

Jackson Square Parking Lot Work

The interactive fountain in the center of the Jackson Square parking lot won’t be finished before the Lavender Festival in June, but work around the fountain should be completed by then, a city official said Monday.

 

The interactive fountain won’t be in place by the Lavender Festival in June, but other perimeter work around the Jackson Square parking lot should be completed, a city official said Monday.

Construction work on the $1 million rebuild of the parking lot area at Jackson Square started in January. The construction contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City by the Oak Ridge City Council in October.

The work is funded with help from a $741,609 Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant that was awarded to the city in June 2012. The TDOT grant covers 80 percent of the work, and it requires a 20 percent city match.

Jackson Square is Oak Ridge’s original town center. [Read more…]

Photos: Farmers Market, UT Arboretum Society Plant Sale

Farmers Market Opening

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market opened on Saturday, April 18. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market opened for the season on Saturday, April 18. Its the market’s 39th season.

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays in Historic Jackson Square. It will also be open on Wednesdays beginning May 6.

Here’s what’s new at the market this year: [Read more…]