After a brief discussion Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council unanimously agreed to award a $150,000 contract to a company that will help in the first phase of a $1 million project to redevelop Jackson Square, the city’s original town center.
The contract for design services was awarded to Vaughn and Melton Consulting Engineering Inc. of Knoxville. V&M will help with services ranging from deed research and field surveys to preliminary plans and construction estimates.
Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said V&M has helped with the redevelopment of Gay Street in Knoxville.
The work is part of a project funded with help from a Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant that was announced by Gov. Bill Haslam in Jackson Square in June 2012.
Enhancements at Jackson Square could include a reconfigured parking lot that would be landscaped and have a more walkable plaza and parking area. They would also include new and improved sidewalks, a fountain, new landscaping, a connection to the parking lot on the north side of Broadway Avenue, and other amenities, such as lighting, bike racks, benches, and signs.
City officials said Jackson Square is already being revamped, with a new bank, restaurants, and a renovated Oak Ridge Playhouse.
The city and state are working together to create a community gathering spot, Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said.
The TDOT grant has a total budget of roughly $1 million, and the state will pay 80 percent of the construction costs in the grant application. The state’s share is estimated at about $800,000.
The city will pay 20 percent of the construction costs, or roughly $181,000.
The city’s total cost is estimated at approximately $280,000. That includes close to $102,000 for professional design services.
The goal is to complete construction before the June 2014 Lavender Festival, Oak Ridge City Engineer Steven R. Byrd said in a memo to City Manager Mark Watson.
V&M is expected to work with landscape architecture firm Hedstrom Design and environmental firm S&ME Inc.
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