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Our milestone 75th anniversary has arrived and the calendar is already filling up with some amazing events that will help all of us celebrate!

FLASHBACK: Oak Ridge was born in 1942 and existed for seven years as a truly "Secret City." By August of 1945, around 75,000 people lived within the community borders. Visitors were only allowed in by special approval and guards were posted at all entrances to the city, requiring residents to wear badges whenever they were outside their homes. At the time, Oak Ridge was the fifth largest city in Tennessee, but didn't even appear on the map.

Earlier this month, Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch announced the formation of a special committee that is now helping coordinate and circulate information about the City's 75th Anniversary.

UP NEXT: The Oak Ridge Fire Department will host "Then and Now," a 1940s-era Fire Prevention Parade and Celebration on October 7, 2017. Click here to read more about what they have planned for the event.

75th Anniversary festivities will continue through the end of 2018.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex will celebrate the anniversaries of their respective beginnings as well. 

Additional events will be announced as they are confirmed.  For more information, contact Explore Oak Ridge at (865) 483-1321.
The Oak Ridge Police Department is teaming up with the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program to host a National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in A.K. Bissell Park behind the Civic Center. National Night Out is a free community gathering that heightens awareness of local efforts to prevent crime, violence and drug use while generating support for and participation in anti-crime programs.

Click here to visit our Facebook event page for National Night Out!

National Night Out is celebrated across the country and will include fun and family friendly activities for adults and children. 

Nine local businesses are sponsoring the event in Oak Ridge with more than 45 exhibitors signing up to take part. A demonstration by the ORPD K-9 unit is scheduled for 6 p.m. National Night Out will be held rain or shine. If weather conditions are unfavorable, all exhibits will move indoors to the Civic Center gymnasium.

Everyone is invited to learn more about law enforcement and crime prevention during National Night Out. For more information on the event, contact the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-3504.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new International Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion were held the afternoon of Thursday, September 21, at the Bell's new location in A.K. Bissell Park, just west of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.

"The Friendship Bell is a powerful symbol of hope, and it is a testament to the fundamental truth that despite past conflicts, we are stronger together in peace and harmony," said Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, who served as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking. "The Friendship Bell represents a bond of friendship, respect and unwavering support between Oak Ridge and the people of Japan."

The Oak Valley Baptist Church Choir presented a music program relating to the friendship and peace theme of the event. Pat Postma and Alan Tatum, co-chairs of the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee, also took part in the ceremonies.

Major donors, including UT Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and CNS - Y-12, participated in breaking ground for the new pavilion. The Bell, created for Oak Ridge's 50th birthday, is expected to bring its message of peace and friendship to the thousands of visitors expected at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge.

"During our City's 75th Anniversary, we will acknowledge the tens of thousands of the best, brightest, bravest, and most patriotic men and women whose efforts on the battlefields, at Y-12, and at ORNL helped win World War II, the Cold War, maintain our national security, and deliver scientific advances which literally changed the world and enhanced the quality of our lives," Mayor Gooch added.

The new pavilion for the Bell came about after city officials discovered that structural beams in the original Bell house had severely deteriorated. With the Bell housing in danger of collapsing, the City of Oak Ridge tasked the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board with making short-term and long-term recommendations.

A decision was made to demolish the original pavilion and place the Bell on timbers at the site. The advisory board formed the ad hoc International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a new pavilion design and raise funds for the project. 

Architect Ziad Demian, founding partner of demian\wilbur\architects in Washington, D.C., designed the new Peace Pavilion and its surrounding plaza, with gardens and benches. He also attended the groundbreaking.

"It is right for us to come together as a community to break ground on this new home for the Friendship Bell," Mayor Gooch said in closing. "Going forward, we should heed its clarion call of hope; and honor the service and sacrifice of those upon whose shoulders we stand, by remembering that enemies can become trusted friends; that our strength requires us to seek peace; that with great power comes great responsibility; and that the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all God's children around the world are best when shared together. If we do, perhaps, it can be said of us on our City's 100th Anniversary in 2042 that we were good stewards of Oak Ridge's legacy of hope and friendship, and our community is stronger because of our collective efforts."

Read the mayor's full remarks here.

Following the groundbreaking, an International Day of Peace observance was held at the current Friendship Bell site in Bissell Park, just off Badger Avenue. The Oak Ridge Girl Scout Service Unit and the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee hosted that portion of the event. The Oak Ridge High School Ensemble, directed by Amanda Ragan, The Sorta Singers, of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Girl Scouts provided music for the occasion.

Oak Ridge Girl Scouts and members of the Oak Ridge Rocks!! Facebook page also "Rocked the Bell" by placing rocks painted with a peace theme at the Bell site. They invited participants to take a rock to keep or relocate.
The City of Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is joining others across the state to take part in "Tennessee Week for the Animals" 2017. 

Animal shelters, rescue groups and humane organizations will host life-saving animal events in communities across Tennessee as part of the annual proclamation signed by Governor Bill Haslam.

In Oak Ridge, the City's animal shelter will reduce adoption fees to special rates during the Week for the Animals and throughout the month of October. 

Reduced adoption fees are as follows:
  • Tabby Tuesdays - All tabby cats are $55
  • Tortie Thursdays - All tortoiseshell cats are $55
  • Black Fridays - All solid black cats and dogs are $55
Adoption fees include spay/neuter, microchip, two booster vaccines, rabies vaccine, dewormer, a dose of flea medication, and a nail trim. All cats are tested for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Dogs over 6 months old are tested for heartworms. Shelter hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will also take part in the Pet Fest and Blessing XVI at Grace Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 7. The event runs 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, and admission is free. Activities include prize drawings, free pet photos, a silent auction, pet microchipping and rabies shots from 1-3 p.m., pet blessings at 4 p.m., food/refreshments, children's games, crafts, and face painting. All proceeds benefit local rescue groups. The church is located at 131 W. Gettysburg Avenue.

For more information on adoptable animals and services offered by the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter, visit them online at or call them at (865) 425-3423.

Visit the Tennessee Week for the Animals website at for a full calendar of events and list of participating agencies.
All visitors to the Oak Ridge Senior Center should be advised that daily programs will be closed between Tuesday, October 24, and Thursday, October 26, due to preparations for a special event at the Civic Center.

The main office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during this time in order to sell taxi coupons.

All regular activities will resume as normal on Friday, October 26.

Please mark your calendar as a reminder of this closure!
The City of Oak Ridge Healthy Waters Program will host a "Clean the Clinch!" event on Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in an effort to remove litter from the shoreline of the Clinch River.

Trash has gathered in the water and along the banks of the river in an area that sees high foot traffic and is home to local wildlife. Organizers hope this clean-up effort will help keep the Clinch River clean, beautiful and enjoyable for all. The clean-up begins at Melton Lake Park and will run along Melton Lake Greenway and on the Clinch River.

There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to be a part of this important event. Volunteers are needed to pick up litter, sort recycling along the shoreline and to remove invasive species along the greenway. Those who prefer to be out on the water are encouraged to bring their own boats, canoes or kayaks. Adventures Outdoors has generously offered kayaks for use, but availability is limited.

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the AmeriCorps Stormwater Team of Oak Ridge Facebook page for more information about registering for this event. Additional details are also available by emailing

The Healthy Waters Program is an extension of the Public Works Department's Stormwater Division. They can be reached by phone at (865) 425-1890.
The City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department and its Stormwater Management Program are welcoming new AmeriCorps members, Danielle Gerlach and Jessica Wykoff, to the team. In partnership with the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC), everyone in the Public Works Department is excited to have AmeriCorps members serving in our community for the third year in a row.

CAC AmeriCorps has been a program within the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee since 1994. CAC AmeriCorps works with many partners in the region. The primary goal of this program is to provide environmental conservation services through hands-on field work, as well as education in many different areas that include water quality, recycling, and other sustainability efforts. 

Danielle and Jessica will help teach watershed lessons at Oak Ridge High School and take part in a collaborative rain garden project where Oak Ridge High School students will be analyzing data alongside professionals at the University of Tennessee. They will also be partnering with local organizations, community leaders, and private citizens to hold water quality events and activities, including our second annual rain barrel workshop. They will also be continuing to help permanently map the City's stormwater infrastructure and to help address environmental concerns in order to reach the permit requirements mandated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program.

More info on the Stormwater Management Program can be found on our website.
The 8th Annual Nashville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was held on the morning of Sunday, September 10, 2017, at William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower in downtown Nashville. 

343 firefighters registered to climb 110 stories in remembrance of the 343 FDNY Firefighters that died 16 years ago at the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. 

Six Oak Ridge firefighters began the climb at 9 a.m., wearing 60 pounds of fire gear and each carrying a picture of a firefighter who died at the World Trade Center. The Oak Ridge crew was the first to complete the 110 story climb at 11 a.m. All six team members had to complete the climb in order for the team to finish. 

"The dedication of these firefighters and captain are what makes the Oak Ridge Fire Department an outstanding organization," ORFD Chief Darryl Kerley said.  

Congratulations to Captain Brandon Payne and Firefighter Engineers Shay West, Matt Hackney, Brad Bittinger, Steve London, and Darrel Mull.
More information on the annual stair climb can be found online.
Progress on Main Street Oak Ridge continues every day. In case you haven't been able to stop by yet, eight new stores are open:  Dick's Sporting Goods, T.J.Maxx, Maurices, Rue 21, Rack Room Shoes, Ulta, PetSmart, and Electronic Express .

Their doors are already open for shoppers, but Electronic Express just announced an official grand opening celebration for Thursday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The ribbon cutting is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. Store managers say there will be food, fun, prizes, and special deals to help celebrate the occasion.

A detailed map provided by RealtyLink (below) shows what the project is expected to look like once it's finished. More updates are expected as the project moves forward. Visit our City of Oak Ridge Facebook page to see updated photos and videos of the Main Street project, as well as many other events happening around town. 

"LOI" stands for Letter of Intent. For a larger and clearer image, visit RealtyLink's website

As a reminder, Belk and JCPenney are OPEN and have been throughout demolition and construction for Main Street Oak Ridge. Additional retail space is also being constructed. We'll have more updates as the progress moves into the next phase.
The Oak Ridge Public Library needs your help once again. The library is privileged to house the photography collection of Ruth Carey, an original Oak Ridge resident and longtime photographer for The Oak Ridger from the 1960s to the mid-1990s. Her photo collection is vast and varied, including pictures of key political and cultural figures, community events and weddings. Unfortunately, many of the photographs do not include notes about who is in the photo or when and where it was taken.

With the help of volunteers, Oak Ridge Public Library staff members Teresa Fortney and Jordan Reed have begun digitizing the collection. Some of the photographs that have been digitized are available for public viewing online at www.orpl.orgHowever, Mrs. Carey's collection was so comprehensive, only a portion of the total number of photographs have been digitized. 

As the library continues its digitization efforts, it is important that the people and places are identified so as not to lose this important part of our history. The photos for this series of public viewings date from 1960 to the early 1970s and were processed from negatives in 2009.  If you would like to help preserve a part of Oak Ridge's history, please join us for one or both of the remaining photo viewing days:
  • Wednesday, October 25, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 4, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
On these dates, the library will make the Ruth Carey Collection available for public viewing. All events will take place in the library auditorium. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. No call or RSVP is necessary.

GOOD NEWS! Sunday hours resumed earlier this month at the  Oak Ridge Public Library ! The main   library  and the Children's Room will be open from 2-6 p.m. on Sundays until summer 2018, giving you even more time to check out all they have to offer.


City of Oak Ridge | |
200 South Tulane Ave
Oak Ridge, TN 37830