The Oak Ridge City Council will have a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, August 25, to collect community input regarding the possible transfer of Clark Center Park from the U.S. Department of Energy to the city. The meeting will be held in the Municipal Building Courtroom, and it will be in lieu of the regularly scheduled monthly work session.
The DOE’s Oak Ridge Office is in the process of reviewing the agency’s land holdings across the Oak Ridge Reservation. The reservation is located within the city limits of Oak Ridge, and it includes Clark Center Park.
Clark Center Park (formerly known as Carbide Park) is an 80-acre parcel under consideration by DOE for possible transfer from federal ownership. The park area includes a swimming area along Melton Hill Lake, and incorporates two picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, a boat ramp, two ball fields, and also provides access to the Gallaher Bend Greenway. DOE spends about $300,000 per year to maintain the park.
In an August 4 letter to the city, DOE Oak Ridge Office Manager Larry Kelly said, “Given the park’s benefit to the citizens of Oak Ridge, the option we currently favor would be to transfer ownership to the city at no cost, provided that the property remains a recreational park asset for the public.”
Kelly also emphasized in the letter that DOE has not established any timeframe for disposition of the property. City Council adopted a resolution on August 11 authorizing City Manager Mark Watson to conduct further discussions with DOE and to provide regular reports on the discussions. The resolution also recognized an interest in soliciting input from Oak Ridge citizens regarding possible transfer issues to consider.
There will not be a formal presentation at the August 25 meeting. The public is asked, but not limited, to address several topics:
- What are the options to finance ongoing operation of the park?
- What amenities/improvements would the community desire?
- Is city ownership the best option? Costs? Benefits?
- What is the Oak Ridge public’s definition of a recreation use for Clark Center Park?
For more information, visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.