School Board, City Council resolve high school debt dispute

Oak Ridge City Council and Board of Education

A proposal to resolve a dispute over sales tax revenues and high school debt appeared to have majority support during a non-voting joint work session of Oak Ridge City Council and Board of Education on Friday.

Despite opposition from a few residents and municipal officials, the Oak Ridge City Council and Board of Education have resolved a dispute over Anderson County sales tax revenues and debt payments for the $66 million renovation of Oak Ridge High School.

The dispute, which started several years ago, centered on how to use the Oak Ridge school system’s portion of Anderson County sales tax revenues generated by a tax increase approved by county voters in a 2006 referendum. School officials had argued that they could keep their share of the revenues generated in the county outside of Oak Ridge, while city officials had said all the revenues, whether collected inside the city or outside of it, should be used for high school debt payments.

A resolution unanimously approved by the school board in February and the City Council in a 5-2 vote on Monday, March 3, allows the schools to keep its portion of the new Anderson County revenues collected outside the city. However, the resolution spells out how the money has to be spent: on technology enhancements, debt reduction, capital repairs and equipment, and grant matches and innovative educational projects. [Read more...]

ORCVB, Welcome Center closed until noon Wednesday for nearby construction work

The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau and Welcome Center will be closed until noon Wednesday because of a water outage scheduled by the city and because the parking lot will be blocked for utility work for the nearby Kroger Marketplace shopping center.

Oak Ridge officials have announced that a short stretch of Robertsville Road between Oak Ridge Turnpike and Raleigh Road will be closed from Wednesday to Friday for the underground utility work. The entrance to ORCVB is in that road section.

The street closure is subject to weather that could cause a delay in the work, a city press release said.

Part of Robertsville Road to close Wed.-Fri. for Kroger utility work

A short stretch of Robertsville Road will be closed from Wednesday to Friday this week for underground utility work for the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center.

The work will be done on Robertsville Road between Oak Ridge Turnpike and Raleigh Road. The street closure is subject to weather that could cause a delay in the work, a city press release said.

“No through traffic will be permitted on this portion of Robertsville Road during the closure,” the release said. “Local traffic will be permitted to access the Unitarian Church, and the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Heritage and Preservation Association from the Robertsville Road/Raleigh Road intersection. Motorists should use caution while traveling near the closure area.”

Questions or comments concerning this closure can be directed to the Oak Ridge City Engineer at (865) 425- 1807. Visit www.oakridgetn.gov for more information.

Watson one of four finalists for Texas job; decision possible in late January

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson is one of four finalists for a similar job in one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, and officials there could hire someone near the end of January, an official said Monday.

Jon Branson, one of two assistant city managers in Pearland, Texas, said the City Council is tentatively scheduled to conduct some final interviews on or around Jan. 25, and officials hope to have a decision shortly afterward.

Pearland’s current city manager, Bill Eisen, is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years. Branson will be the interim city manager starting Jan. 1, and he will serve until the Pearland City Council hires a new city manager. [Read more...]

Blasting continues at Kroger Marketplace site on Monday

Kroger Marketplace Site Plan

Kroger Marketplace Site Plan

Blasting at the Kroger Marketplace construction site is scheduled to continue at 2 p.m. Monday.

Police officers will stop traffic on Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike for the duration of the blast, which will be about three to five minutes, a press release said.

During the blasting, Illinois Avenue traffic will be blocked from Robertsville Road to Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Oak Ridge Turnpike traffic will be blocked from the Illinois-Turnpike intersection east to Robertsville Road. [Read more...]

More blasting at Kroger Marketplace site on Friday, Monday

Kroger Marketplace Building Construction

More blasting at the Kroger Marketplace shopping center site is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday and Monday. Police officers will stop traffic on Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike for about three to five minutes during the blasts.

More blasting at the Kroger Marketplace shopping center site is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday and Monday.

Police officers will stop traffic on Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike for about three to five minutes during the blasts.

During the blasting, Illinois Avenue traffic will be blocked from Robertsville Road to Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Oak Ridge Turnpike traffic will be blocked from the Illinois/Turnpike intersection east to Robertsville Road.

There was also blasting at the site in October. [Read more...]

Construction starts at Unitarian Universalist Church near Federal Building

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church Site

Construction work has started at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church between Oak Ridge Turnpike and the Joe L. Evins Federal Building.

Construction work has started at the site of a new home for the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church near the Joe L. Evins Federal Building.

Hickory Construction Inc., which has headquarters in Alcoa, announced on Thursday that it has broken ground at the 4.6-acre site. The building could be complete by next summer, a press release said.

Hickory will work with Johnson Architecture Inc. to create a larger church building that will give the congregation an extra 3,000 square feet, compared to the current building a few miles down Oak Ridge Turnpike, the press release said. The new church will feature an updated, modern appearance. [Read more...]

Blasting at Kroger Marketplace site continues Monday, Thursday

Kroger Marketplace Building Construction

Building construction has started at the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, and blasting at the site is scheduled to continue next week.

Building construction has started at the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, and blasting at the site is scheduled to continue next week.

The blasting started this week in short sessions that lasted a few minutes each on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

The blasting is expected to continue next week at 2 p.m. Monday and Thursday, a city press release said. [Read more...]

Blasting scheduled Monday, Thursday at Kroger construction site

Kroger Marketplace Site Work

Blasting is scheduled at the Kroger Marketplace construction site at Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike on Monday and Thursday afternoon. Pictured above is site work that started this summer.

Blasting is scheduled at the Kroger Marketplace construction site at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, and Thursday, Oct. 10. Oak Ridge Police Department officers will stop traffic on Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike during the blasting, which is scheduled to last about three to five minutes, a press release said.

Illinois Avenue traffic will be blocked from Robertsville Road to Oak Ridge Turnpike, and the Turnpike will be blocked from the Illinois Avenue/Turnpike intersection east to Robertsville Road, the release said.

Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley will send two advisement/informational calls to the businesses and residents in the area on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Tuesday, Oct. 8, the press release said. For more information, visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.

Kroger Marketplace will be company’s fifth Oak Ridge store, could add 165 jobs

Kroger Marketplace Groundbreaking Ceremony

The new Kroger Marketplace will be the company’s fifth store in Oak Ridge, and it could add more than 165 jobs, executives said during a Thursday morning groundbreaking ceremony.

The new Kroger Marketplace shopping center scheduled to open next summer will be the company’s fifth store in Oak Ridge, and it could add more than 165 jobs, providing a “tipping point” for economic development, officials said Thursday.

It’s the largest in a series of retail construction projects now under way, including on Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. It could be joined soon by the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.

“We are putting together the future attributes of growth,” Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said during a Thursday morning groundbreaking ceremony near the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church. [Read more...]

Kroger Marketplace groundbreaking ceremony

The Kroger Co. will have a 10 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony for a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center on 25 acres at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.

For additional information or to RSVP for the groundbreaking, call (865) 483-1321 or send an e-mail to Greta Ownby at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at [email protected].