Cinder, public works director, to retire Sept. 4

Gary Cinder

Gary Cinder

Gary Cinder, who has been Oak Ridge public works director for 24 years and interim city manager twice, is retiring September 4.

Cinder has been in public service for 33 years. He could go to work in the private sector, possibly as a consultant.

“It’s time to try something new, something different,” Cinder told Oak Ridge City Council members on Tuesday.

Cinder was the lead staff member on locating, designing, and building the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane. That building is used by the Oak Ridge Public Works Department, Oak Ridge Electric Department, and the school bus maintenance facility, among others.

Cinder has led a major effort to ensure that Oak Ridge complies with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires the city to repair all sewer system overflows by September 28. That work is mostly complete, and the city is in good shape, Cinder said. [Read more…]

TDOT presents $237,500 signal timing grant to Oak Ridge

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer presents a signal optimization grant check to Oak Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller. (Photo courtesy City of Oak Ridge)

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer presents a signal optimization grant check to Oak Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller. (Photo courtesy City of Oak Ridge)


Grant for signal optimization

The City of Oak Ridge has been awarded a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant for $237,500 for a signal timing optimization project, and TDOT Commissioner John Schroer recently presented the award to Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller in Nashville.

The signal timing optimization grant is funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, or CMAQ, which supports transportation projects that reduce air emissions from on-road sources and non-road sources, as well as projects that reduce traffic congestion, a press release said.

“The city is pleased to receive this grant which will significantly enhance air quality and reduce congested roadways,” Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said in the press release.

The signal timing optimization project will target 26 traffic signals on Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Lafayette Drive. The program will synchronize these lights in order to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and vehicle idling, and decrease commuter travel time. [Read more…]

Council considers Clark Center Park, ORHS stoplight, Woodland development

Clark Center Park Water View

A view of Melton Hill Lake near a boat ramp and between two picnic areas at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday night will consider the start of negotiations over the future of Clark Center Park, a new stoplight on Oak Ridge Turnpike in front of the high school, and changes, including rezonings, that could allow a small commercial development near Aldi grocery on South Illinois Avenue.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, August 11, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.

A resolution to be considered tonight would allow Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson to discuss the future of Clark Center Park with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office. DOE-ORO  has said it wants to transfer the park to the city at no cost as long as it remains a recreational park asset for the public.

The Oak Ridge Office now spends about $300,000 per year to maintain the park. One of the questions for city officials is whether Oak Ridge can afford to take over the 80-acre park, which is in south Oak Ridge on Melton Hill Lake. Also known as Carbide Park, it includes two ball fields, two large picnic areas, a small playground, a boat ramp, restrooms, fishing trails, and a beach. It also includes access to the Gallaher Bend Greenway. [Read more…]

Council approves stoplight project at SR 95, Bethel Valley Road

Highway 95 and Bethel Valley Road Stoplight

Note: This story was updated at 11:30 p.m. March 14.

Hoping to improve safety, state officials plan to install a stoplight west of Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the intersection of State Route 95 and Bethel Valley Road.

The stoplight and other geometric improvements have been endorsed by Johnny O. Moore, U.S. Department of Energy manager at the ORNL Site Office.

“This intersection poses safety problems for the general public, as well as employees of ORNL, and these proposed improvements would be greatly appreciated,” Moore said in a Feb. 6 letter to Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson.

The project could cost $200,000. The Tennessee Department of Transportation would fund it through the Federal Highway Administration Highway Safety Project. Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said this type of project qualifies for 100 percent federal funding.

On Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council approved an agreement that would make the city responsible for maintenance after the stoplight is built. The annual maintenance cost for the city is expected to be about $1,500. [Read more…]

Council considers Weigel’s rezoning tonight

Weigels Rezoning

The Oak Ridge City Council will consider a rezoning for a Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue during a meeting at 7 p.m. today.

The Oak Ridge City Council will consider a property rezoning tonight that could allow a Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue.

The rezoning would allow the proposed gas station and convenience store on a 1.5-acre parcel south of TNBank. The 3,900-square-foot store could open by 2013.

[Read more…]