Lifeguard shortage affects Oak Ridge pool hours

The Oak Ridge Outdoor Pool on Providence Road is pictured above. (Photo by City of Oak Ridge)

A nationwide lifeguard shortage is affecting the hours that Oak Ridge’s municipal pools will be open this summer, the city said in a press release Monday.

“Due to the lower number of lifeguards this year, there are not enough people to staff both pools for the same hours they were open in previous seasons,” Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Aquatics Manager Vonda Wooten said in the press release.

The indoor pool at the Civic Center will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Swim lessons are from 9 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the press release said. Open lap is from 12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

[Read more…]

Updated: Council approves Rails to Trails engineering contract

The former CSX railway is pictured near Jefferson Middle School in central Oak Ridge on Dec. 30, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

The former CSX railway is pictured near Jefferson Middle School in central Oak Ridge on Dec. 30, 2016. (File photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Note: This story was updated at 10:15 a.m. May 15.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday unanimously approved an engineering contract for the Rails to Trails project, which would convert a former CSX railroad into a bicycle and pedestrian pathway.

The consulting contract, worth an estimated $358,317, was awarded to A. Morton Thomas and Associates of Kingsport.

The agreement, approved 7-0, is to provide environmental testing, master planning, design and engineering of the trail, and help with construction bidding, Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick told City Manager Mark Watson in a May 4 memo.

There is still much work to be done, including buying the former railroad, and the project might not go out to bid until May 2020, or two years from now, according to a draft timeline presented at the City Council meeting on Monday. And that’s assuming all goes well.

“Design and engineering will provide construction cost estimates and a phasing schedule, along with a basis for negotiating the acquisition of the rail line from CSX Rail,” Hetrick said. “Because the current programmed funding will not cover the entire project cost, the master plan will be used to leverage additional funding for construction from various funding sources, including federal highway and private funds.” [Read more…]

Council has special meeting today to consider contracts for water line, pool repairs

The Oak Ridge City Council has a special meeting at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, to consider two contracts, one for water line repair and the other for pool repair. The water line repair is an emergency repair to a 24-inch feed that is considered critical for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and passes through the Y-12 National Security Complex.

The Oak Ridge City Council has a special meeting at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, to consider two contracts, one for water line repair and the other for pool repair. The water line repair is an emergency repair to a 24-inch feed that is considered critical for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and passes through the Y-12 National Security Complex.

 

The Oak Ridge City Council has a special meeting at 4 p.m. today (Friday, February 16) to consider two contracts, one for water line repair and the other for pool repair. The water line repair is an emergency repair to a 24-inch feed that is considered critical for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and passes through the Y-12 National Security Complex.

If approved, the water line repair contract would be valued at roughly $100,000, and it would be awarded to Hurst Excavating LLC of Knoxville. The project would replace about 400 feet of the 24-inch water line, which is along Bear Creek Road inside the Y-12 National Security Complex.

The project is a joint effort between the City of Oak Ridge and the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira A. McWaters said in a February 15 memo to City Manager Mark Watson. The city-DOE water contract specifies that repairs are to be shared 50/50, McWaters said.

The cast iron water line runs from east to west from the city’s water treatment plant, which is on Pine Ridge at Y-12, to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The line failed January 29. It is part of the infrastructure that was transferred to the city in May 2000, when the city assumed ownership and began operating the water treatment plant, which had previously been owned by DOE. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Baseball Complex could be re-named in honor of volunteer

The Oak Ridge Baseball Complex on Wilberforce Avenue could be re-named the Joe Mason Baseball Complex in honor of long-time community volunteer Joe Mason.

The Oak Ridge City Council will consider the re-naming during its Monday night meeting.

Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Jonathan Hetrick said administrators at Oak Ridge Schools and the Baseball Boosters Association have requested the re-naming.

“Mr. Mason is a 1958 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, where he lettered in baseball and football,” Hetrick said. “He has continued to support high school athletics in Oak Ridge, especially baseball, throughout his life. He spent many years coaching youth baseball in Oak Ridge. For over 30 years, he has led the maintenance efforts of the home field for the high school baseball team, Bobby Hopkins Field, along with the other ballfields at the complex. [Read more…]

Recreation and Parks announces spring indoor pool events

Photo courtesy City of Oak Ridge

Photo courtesy City of Oak Ridge

 

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is offering several classes and events at the Civic Center’s indoor pool this spring, a press release said.

Spring Break Open Swim Extended Hours: First, to take full advantage of spring break, the indoor pool will operate on extended hours between Monday, March 13, and Friday, March 24. Open swim times are as follows:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ORCA Swim Team: Sign-ups for the Oak Ridge City Aquatics (ORCA) swim team are open through Tuesday, March 28, when the spring session begins. ORCA is open to anyone 5-18 years old and the only prerequisite is the ability to swim 25 yards unassisted. Practices are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. The swim team fee is $70 ($80 for those living outside of Oak Ridge). The season runs from March 28 through May 18.

Adult Swimming Lessons: Beginner and intermediate level adult swimmers are invited to enroll in a swim course that will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays between March 7 and March 23. Classes are scheduled between 5 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on those days.

Red Cross Swim Lessons: Red Cross Swim Lessons are also offered in two sessions this spring: [Read more…]

Christmas tree recycling available in Oak Ridge

Two drop-off locations will be available for residents who want to recycle their Christmas trees after the holidays. The program is offered by the City of Oak Ridge.

Signs will be posted in both locations. The drop-offs are:

  • Big Turtle Park, 2525 Oak Ridge Turnpike (parking lot)
  • Solway Park, 205 Edgemoor Road (parking lot near the boat launch)

Trees will be accepted any time through January 29, 2017. On Saturday, January 14, and Saturday, January 21, Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department employees will be available to assist with unloading trees at the Big Turtle Park drop-off location from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., a press release said. [Read more…]

Girl Scouts host Peace Demonstration on Wednesday

Becca Seay, right, and Daphne Seay, left, Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 20508 fold white peace doves as souvenirs of the Girl Scouts celebration of the UN's International Day of Peace. (Submitted photo)

Becca Seay, right, and Daphne Seay, left, Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 20508 fold white peace doves as souvenirs of the Girl Scouts celebration of the United Nation’s International Day of Peace. (Submitted photo)

 

Information and photos from Jerralyn Luckmann and Kay Brookshire

Oak Ridge Girl Scout Troops are planning a Peace Demonstration to celebrate the United Nation’’s International Day of Peace, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21. Also known as World Peace Day, September 21 is a global observance, a day when nations around the world are invited to honor a cessation of hostilities.

To inaugurate the International Day of Peace, the “Peace Bell” is rung at the United Nations Headquarters. The bell was cast in Japan and made from coins donated by children from all continents. It bears the inscription “Long live absolute world peace.”

Girl Scouts from many Oak Ridge troops will gather at the Oak Ridge Friendship Bell, near the proposed location for the Peace Pavilion, which will house the new bell support structure. In the shadow of our own “Peace Bell,” the Girl Scouts will present a program of songs and peace quotes. Troop members are folding peace doves to distribute as keepsakes of the event. [Read more…]

Council to consider rejecting bids for eighth rowing lane

SIRA-Regatta-April-17-2016-6

Two bids to add an eighth lane to the Oak Ridge rowing course came in much higher than city officials were prepared to spend, and City Council will consider rejecting the bids during a meeting on Monday, June 13, 2016. Above, officials and referees used Oak Ridge Rowing Association boats to monitor the races on the seven-lane course at the 2016 SIRA Championship Regatta in Oak Ridge on Sunday, April 17, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

The city has received two bids on a project to add an eighth rowing lane at the Oak Ridge Marina, and both were significantly higher than what city officials were prepared to spend. So, the Oak Ridge City Council will consider rejecting the two bids during its meeting tonight (Monday, June 13).

The city has received a $250,000 state grant for the proposed eighth lane. The city planned to contribute $150,000, and City Manager Mark Watson had solicited more money from other agencies that would benefit from the rowing course improvements. That meant there was enough money available to fund a project of about $560,000, which is close to a targeted estimate that Watson gave City Council members in March.

But since then, the city has received two bids. The high bid of $2.14 million was from Wright Brothers Construction. The low bid of $1.74 million was from Simpson Construction.

Both bids are “totally out of line with projected estimates,” Watson said in a June 8 memo to City Council. [Read more…]

Eighth rowing lane could cost more than $500,000, up to about $1.2 million

Cardinal-Invitational-Regatta-West-Virginia-Rowing-March-12-2016

Twelve of the nation’s best NCAA Division I women’s rowing teams competed this month in the Cardinal Invitational Regatta in Oak Ridge. Pictured above, a West Virginia University team competes at Oak Ridge Marina on Saturday, March 12, 2016. The eighth lane would require some work along the Melton Lake Drive side of the course, which is on the right side of this picture. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 5:30 p.m.

An eighth lane at the seven-lane Oak Ridge rowing course could cost more than $500,000 and up to about $1.2 million, officials said Tuesday.

The eighth lane has been on the wish list of rowers and many local officials for years. They say it would allow the Oak Ridge Rowing Association to compete for bigger races and international regattas, which require an eighth lane. It would also keep the site a top-tier rowing venue and provide more on-water capacity, allowing more competitors in events. It’s also expected to significantly increase the economic impact of rowing races, or regattas.

Officials announced a $250,000 state grant for the eighth lane in April 2015.

In August, the city hired Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon Inc. for design and survey work, among other tasks.

A March 1 memo from BWSC to Jon Hetrick, Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks director, outlines five construction options with various estimates of probable costs ranging between $543,771 and $1,162,444. The five estimated construction costs include a 20 percent contingency. All five options would include a retaining wall and earthwork, which would include excavation and dredging. [Read more…]

Council to consider applying for state grant for synthetic turf at Blankenship

Wildcats Tee Higgins Catch against Campbell County Oct. 30, 2015

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider applying for a state grant worth up to $500,000 to install synthetic turf at Blankenship Field. Pictured above, Oak Ridge junior wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) hauls in a catch near the left sideline during a 45-6 win over Campbell County on Blankenship Field on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. (File photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider applying for a state grant worth up to $500,000 to install synthetic turf at Blankenship Field. It’s the first phase of a multi-million-dollar proposal to renovate Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong Stadium.

The application that City Council will consider is a Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The grant requires a 50 percent match, which would be provided by the nonprofit Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation. The requested grant funding could range between $250,000 and $500,000.

The Local Parks and Recreation Fund, or LPRF, grant provides state funding for parks and recreation development and capital projects, said Jon Hetrick, Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks director. It requires the facility to be maintained as a public recreational facility and open to the public. Grant reports must be filed with the state every five years to document ongoing use as a public recreational facility. [Read more…]