The City of Oak Ridge and its Community Development Department will present possibilities for the mixed-use redevelopment of the Wilson Street corridor at a public meeting on Wednesday, October 23.
The meeting will be held at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, located at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., a press release said. The community is invited to view the presentation, which uses data compiled over several years of study and public engagement focused on the needs of Oak Ridge residents, business owners, and visitors, the release said.
The City of Oak Ridge secured grant funding for this project under an agreement with the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation and coordinated through the regional Transportation Planning Organization for the purposes of envisioning a new “Downtown Oak Ridge,” the press release said. The goal of the study is to explore what could be along the Wilson Street corridor, including multi-story, mixed-use development adjacent to the ongoing retail redevelopment of Main Street Oak Ridge.
“This location will serve as a catalyst for new and expanded growth,” the press release said.
“Beginning with the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge was born without a distinct downtown,” said Oak Ridge Community Development Director Wayne Blasius. “We are now working with local stakeholders and a team of highly-skilled economists, engineers, and architectural designers to create a vision of how this can be put into motion.”
Over the years, multiple plans have highlighted the need for a central downtown that can help spur new development and foster a stronger sense of identity and community, from the 1988 Comprehensive Plan, to the City Center Plan in 2000, and most recently in the 2019 Oak Ridge City Blueprint and amendments to the Main Street development plan, the press release said.
The ideas to be presented will be guided by traffic analysis and land use projections for the Oak Ridge market. The City of Oak Ridge and its Industrial Development Board have improved Wilson Street by resurfacing the roadway and upgrading the curb, gutter, drainage system, and underground utilities, the press release said.
The final examples for the new downtown work will include a mix of retail, restaurant, residential, and/or office uses with an attractive streetscape and pedestrian connectivity, the press release said.
“Community Development Department staff are eager to share the results of this project and encourage everyone interested in the possibilities to attend the October 23rd meeting,” the press release said.
Questions about the new downtown planning process or any other Community Development project can be directed to the department by calling (865) 425-3531 or by emailing [email protected].
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