Last rummage sale at current Unitarian Universalist Church on Aug. 1, 2

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church Sanctuary

The sanctuary of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church is pictured above. (File photo)

The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church will have its last rummage sale at its current location near the new Kroger Marketplace on Robertsville Road on August 1 and 2.

The church is moving from its longtime home there to a new location between Oak Ridge Turnpike and the Joe L. Evins Federal Building, where the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office is housed. The UU church property on Robertsville Road will become part of the Kroger shopping center, known as the Westcott Center.

The semiannual rummage at the Robertsville Road location will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 1, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 2. Prices are doubled on Friday evening for the sneak preview sale, a press release said.

ORUUC is located at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

“This will be the last rummage sale in our current location, but plans are already under way to resume the long tradition of having rummage sales starting next year in the church’s new location at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike,” said Betsy Bauer, who for more than two decades has been the sale organizer. “Being advocates for recycling and repurposing, this sale saves items from loading our landfills, and instead finds a home with someone who can reuse it.” [Read more...]

Spotlight: Picture of Turnpike, Illinois Avenue shopping area in 1944

Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike Shopping Area

The shopping area at Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, where the new Kroger Marketplace is now, is pictured above in 1944. (U.S. Department of Energy photo by Ed Westcott)

 

The shopping center at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue where the new Kroger Marketplace is now was previously home to a shopping area.

Here is a picture of that area taken by Ed Westcott in 1944. Westcott was the official government photographer here during the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, when Oak Ridge was built to help enrich uranium for the world’s first atomic weapons.

The photo is on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office page on Flickr.

The new Kroger store, which replaced a few businesses and a small neighborhood, is the company’s fifth in Oak Ridge, and it opened a few weeks ago. The new shopping center has been named the Westcott Center in honor of Westcott.

Note: Thanks to Ginny Boeing Manning at RSI for bringing this photo to our attention.

New Kroger Marketplace largest in Knoxville, Nashville area

Kroger Marketplace Grand Opening

The grand opening of the Kroger Marketplace in Oak Ridge was Sunday morning. The new 124,000-square-foot store is the largest in Tennessee in the Knoxville and Nashville area. Pictured at center is Store Manager Marty Irwin. To the right of her is Ed Westcott, the official U.S. government photographer in Oak Ridge during the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II. The new shopping center is named the Westcott Center in honor of him.

 

The Kroger Marketplace that opened in Oak Ridge on Sunday is the company’s largest store in the Knoxville and Nashville area, executives said. It’s the third Kroger Marketplace in the Knoxville area.

The 124,000-square-foot store is at the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. It’s the company’s fifth store in Oak Ridge, and it’s in a new shopping center named the Westcott Center in honor of Ed Westcott, the official U.S. government photographer here during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II.

Kroger said the new store created 270 jobs and will employ a total of 375 workers, including those moving from the previous store on South Illinois Avenue.

The new grocery store features larger bakery, dairy, deli, meat, and seafood sections, as well as a produce section that includes organic and local produce. There are 22 check-out registers and more than 46 aisles. [Read more...]

New traffic signal at North Illinois, Ivanhoe Road

Kroger Marketplace Storefront

The storefront of the Kroger Marketplace, under construction at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. The new store is expected to open June 29.

A new traffic signal will be activated at the intersection of North Illinois Avenue (State Route 62) and Ivanhoe Road on Friday, June 20.

It’s part of the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, the Westcott Center, at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.

The signal will operate in flashing mode several days before it’s activated, a city press release said. Activation of the signal could be delayed due to bad weather. [Read more...]

Kroger Marketplace to open June 29

Kroger Marketplace Storefront

The storefront of the Kroger Marketplace, which is under construction at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. The new store is expected to open June 29.

 

The Kroger Marketplace is expected to open June 29.

The new, larger Kroger store is under construction at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. Among other things, it will include a pharmacy, Little Clinic, Starbucks Coffee, Fred Meyer Jewelry, Sun Trust Bank, and fuel center.

The older, smaller Kroger store a few miles away on South Illinois Avenue will shut down after the Kroger Marketplace opens. The new 123,000-square-foot store is in a $33 million shopping center that is still under construction. The 25-acre site has been named the Westcott Center in honor of Ed Westcott, the official government photographer in Oak Ridge during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II. [Read more...]

Guest column: Baughn’s budget recommendations to city manager

Trina Baughn

Trina Baughn

The following are my 2015 budget recommendations to the city manager:

Mr. Watson,

I commend you for your willingness to reduce spending in your formulation of the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget. This approach is essential to making Oak Ridge more attractive to prospective residents and businesses.

As you know, Oak Ridge has the third highest city/county property tax rate in East Tennessee at $4.74. What you may not realize is this year, the city of Knoxville dropped below us in these rankings with a combined city/county rate of $4.71 while the majority of Knox Countians still pay less than half of our rate at $2.32.

In response to your request for council suggestions, I encourage you to set a very obtainable goal. That is, reduce our total budget by .05 percent ($90,000) and return those monies to the taxpayers in the amount of a one-cent tax rate reduction. The following are my suggestions for accomplishing this goal. [Read more...]

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...]