A city official will give an update on the proposed development of downtown Oak Ridge during a lunchtime meeting Tuesday.
The presentation will be led by Wayne Blasius, director of the Oak Ridge Planning and Development Department. The online Lunch with the League meeting has been organized by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge, and it is scheduled from 12 to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 15.
“Because of its unique development as a community to support the Manhattan Project (during World War II), the City of Oak Ridge lacked a central downtown,” a press release said. “In the fall of 2019, the city prepared a vision for a new city center, which included zoning changes, property acquisition, and soliciting development. With zoning changes and property acquisition in place, on August 6, 2021, the Oak Ridge Land Bank held its ‘Toast the Town’ event to hear the formal announcement of the call for development. Two excellent proposals were received in response to the (request for proposals) and will be considered for approval by the Land Bank Board at their business meeting, March 15, 5:30 pm (location to be announced). Interested community members are encouraged to attend.”
The proposed downtown would be along Wilson Street on the north side of the new Main Street Oak Ridge at the former Oak Ridge Mall site.
To watch Tuesday’s presentation, contact [email protected]. A few days after the presentation, you may view the recorded presentation on the League’s website at https://my.lwv.org/tennessee/oak-ridge.
The press release said Blasius is responsible for coordinating the city’s planning and code enforcement functions while simultaneously focusing on sustainability and quality of life issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics (with emphasis in environmental studies) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Blasius became the director of planning and development for the City of Oak Ridge in September 2017, the press release said. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and adopted East Tennessee as his home in 1977. Prior to coming to Oak Ridge, he led the nonprofit East Tennessee Community Design Center (2014-17) and served as president of the InSite Development Corporation (2001-2015), where he completed major downtown Knoxville historic rehabilitations such as the Phoenix and Mast General Store/Gallery Lofts. He also consulted on energy management, infrastructure, and sustainability matters for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Previously in his career, he served as deputy director of the City of Knoxville’s Department of Community Development. In addition, he has chaired and served as a member on numerous community boards and agencies. The father of four children who were raised in Knoxville, he also proudly adds that he “began welcoming a string of grandchildren in 2017.”
“It will be exciting to learn the results of the call for development of Oak Ridge Downtown along Wilson Street and other development efforts in the city,” the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Most news stories on Oak Ridge Today are free, brought to you by Oak Ridge Today with help from our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. This is a free story. Thank you to our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. You can see what we cover here.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today!
Alternatively, you can donate to support our work here. Thank you for your support!
Copyright 2021 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.