An agreement officially announced Friday morning clears the way for the historic K-25 North Tower to be demolished, calls for a replica equipment building and viewing tower, proposes a history center at a nearby city-owned fire station, and provides a $500,000 grant for the run-down Alexander Inn.
The agreement wraps up a decade of discussion over how to commemorate the historic contributions of K-25, which was built during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, a federal program to make the world’s first atomic bombs.
Historic preservationists lobbied for years to save the North Tower, but concerns over safety, the deteriorated condition of the building, and cost appear to have made that impractical. Much of the rest of the K-25 Building has already been torn down.
Those who signed the agreement include the U.S. Department of Energy, the State Office of Historic Preservation, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the City of Oak Ridge, and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.