By Oak Ridge City Manager Mark S. Watson
The City is Oak Ridge is currently recruiting members for a new committee and the inaugural Board of Directors for a forthcoming 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
At the September 14, 2015, City Council meeting, the City Council approved a series of resolutions based on recommendations of the Special Events Advisory Task Force to provide recommendations on planning, funding review, and execution of all special events managed or supported by the City. Based on previous City Council discussions on special events, the Special Events Advisory Task Force prioritized its focus on the Secret City Festival, an award-winning, two-day summer event that has been hosted in the City of Oak Ridge for nearly 14 years. The purpose of the nonprofit that is to be established is to assume the responsibility of implementing changes to the Secret City Festival/Celebration and other local events. The goal of the organization will be to become self-sustaining within five years (2020).
The potential exists to develop new direction for the Secret City Festival/Celebration that aligns Oak Ridge with other major special event markets and provides a fresh perspective for an Oak Ridge celebration. The City Council has empowered the inaugural Board of Directors to develop future themes for the celebration of the Secret City Festival/Celebration for the celebration around the arts, history, science, and culture of the City of Oak Ridge, and establishing a new timeframe for this celebration encompassing multiple events.
The establishment of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization will also allow establishing a base organization that will need to select a business name related to the organization’s purpose, create and file the required paperwork such as articles of incorporation, application for state and federal tax exemptions, and create bylaws.
The Board of Directors will be compromised of 14 members with eight positions needing to be filled. Currently, six members of the Board of Directors have been designated from the former Special Events Advisory Task Force, whose representatives include: Ben Arnold, Mike Brown, Judi Gray, Kate Groover, Ray Smith, and Michelle Ward.
Additionally, City Council formed a new committee at their October 12, 2015, City Council meeting to create the Oak Ridge Corridor Initiative Committee, whose purpose will be to study the marketing benefits of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s Proposal to name the four-lane highway from McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville to Oak Ridge as the Oak Ridge Corridor. The Committee will consist of 5 members total with Councilmember Rick Chinn serving as chair.
In order to fill the remaining positions on the Board of Directors and the Oak Ridge Corridor Initiative Committee, the City of Oak Ridge is requesting resumes and letters of interests from the public-at-large who shall be elected by the City Council at the November 16, 2015, City Council meeting. The deadline for submitting this material is by close of business on Friday, November 6, 2015. The public may submit this material to the City Clerk’s Office or upload the information using an online application available on the City’s website.
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