Note: Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch gave an update on positive developments and challenges during a talk to the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge on Tuesday, May 5. Here is a lightly edited version of his remarks, which organized the positive developments and challenges into sections. Gooch was appointed mayor by the seven-member Oak Ridge City Council on November 24. This is his first four-year term on the City Council.
It is a distinct privilege for me to serve as your mayor, but I always preface my remarks by saying that I am not speaking today for Council or for the city manager. I have one vote on Council, but I do consider myself to be the chairman of the board of directors for the city.
In that capacity, as I enter my sixth month of service as mayor, I want to share my thoughts about positive developments in our city, discuss near-term challenges that we face, share the results that I have from the community survey that I have been conducting, and leave time for your questions and comments.
First. My number one priority for our community is the successful development of Main Street Oak Ridge (which would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall), and it is moving forward. Last week, Crosland Southeast announced that MDC Development Group of Atlanta will be the hotel developer for the project. MDC is also a major developer in the senior housing industry and 15 months ago opened Canterfield Oak Ridge Assisted Living. It has been very successful and well-received in our community.
I was advised yesterday (Monday, May 4) that the retail leasing component of the Main Street project is moving forward, as are the negotiations with a developer for the multi-family housing component of the Main Street project. Groundbreaking and demolition for Main Street is on schedule to begin by June 30. [Read more…]