The renovated Blankenship Fieldâ€”the city’s football fieldâ€”and its walking track are now open for public use.
The main change is that the grass field has been replaced with synthetic turf, but there are other changes as well, including to scoreboards and end zone areas.
The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department and Oak Ridge Schools announced the opening of the renovated field on Tuesday.
The field and track are accessible through a gate adjacent to the lower concession stand, a press release said. Like other public park facilities, public use is permitted from sunup to sundown, except when the field is reserved for special events, the press release said.
Usage rules for the field are posted at the track, the press release said.
Reservations can be made through the Oak Ridge Schoolsâ€™ Department of Maintenance and Operations by calling (865) 425-3171, the press release said. Information on the department is available on the schoolsâ€™ website at https://www.ortn.edu/district/maintenance-custodial/.
“These rules have been created to protect the artificial turf field and ensure a long useful life,” the release said. “We ask that everyone respect this significant community investment by following all the usage guidelines. For the protection of the field and its users, the field is also monitored through video surveillance.”
This project is funded in part by a Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Recreation Educational Services Division, with the grant match provided by the Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation.
Oak Ridge Today reported in November 2017 that accepting the state grant of $480,000 for Blankenship Field, primarily for the synthetic turf, means that the facilities must be open to the public.
But there could be exceptions for previously scheduled events that are coordinated through the Oak Ridge school system.
“Please note that construction continues on the project,” the press release said. “Visitors are asked to use caution when construction activity is taking place. Please also note that these continuing construction activities may require temporary closure of the park to ensure public safety, but any such closures will be limited in nature.”
Questions can be directed to Oak Ridge Schools at (865) 425-3171 or the cityâ€™s Recreation and Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can contact John Huotari, owner and publisher of Oak Ridge Today, at (865) 951-9692 or [email protected].
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