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(L to R) Ken Rueter, President and Project Manager UCOR; Jay Mullis, DOE Acting Manager - Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management; Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch.
A celebratory event held on Thursday, October 19, formally launched a multi-phase project to commemorate the history of the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant - once known as K-25.

Co-sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge, the event was part of the City's 75th Anniversary celebration. It featured a walk-through of the future home of the K-25 History Center to be located in the city's Fire Station No. 4 at the East Tennessee Technology Park. The Department of Energy and URS|CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR), DOE's lead cleanup contractor, unveiled plans and the layout for the Center before construction starts.

Large graphics placed throughout the building provided visitors a preview of the finished center. Individuals with knowledge of the history of K-25 and Oak Ridge discussed significant events and facts about the K-25 facility. Artifacts from the era were also on display.

When crews finished constructing Building K-25 in 1945, it was the largest structure in the  world. Its size was rivaled only by the importance of its mission - to help end a global war. Despite its 44-acre footprint and urgent work, the public would not learn of its existence in the Secret City until the end of World War II.

"Although the building is no longer standing, DOE's Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and its partners understand the historical significance of the site," Jay Mullis, Acting Manager of DOE's Oak Ridge Office, said. "We have made a substantial investment to ensure future generations can hear and understand the amazing story behind the men and women who constructed and operated the former K-25 site." Mullis said exhibits will include oral histories and original artifacts that commemorate the history of K-25 and provide context for the way it fits into the national story.

 Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch stated, "This project will help preserve the history of one of the most significant facilities in modern times. But more importantly, as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of our community, it is a tribute to the men and women whose work shaped the outcome of World War II and the Cold War. With its proximity to the K-25 footprint, the City's Fire Station is an ideal venue for the History Center, and partnering with DOE will make its construction and operation more cost effective."

UCOR President and Project Manager Ken Rueter (seen above with Mayor Warren Gooch and Jay Mullis) said UCOR's cleanup work is being carried out on the stage of American history. "It is difficult to walk the grounds of our workplace without seeing reminders that take us back to a perilous time, and the secret, successful work that was accomplished on this site to secure world peace in one of America's most challenging eras," Rueter said. "These facilities will preserve and celebrate that history."

Next year, DOE also plans to begin work on an Equipment Building and Viewing Tower adjacent to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The design replicates the exterior appearance of the K-25 building and houses a representative cross-section of gaseous diffusion technology. An enclosed observation deck will provide a 360-degree view of the site.

All work is being done under a Memorandum of Agreement for historical interpretation of the East Tennessee Technology Park executed in 2012 between DOE and various consulting parties. The Agreement was made as part of the National Historic Preservation Act whose requirements must be met under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which governs cleanup of the site. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was formally established in November 2015. Historic preservation commitments at ETTP are independent but complementary of ongoing efforts to develop the National Park. The original K-25 footprint - the concrete slab on which the massive building once stood - has been incorporated into the National Park.

Also in 2015, DOE launched the K-25 Virtual Museum online. The website tells the story of the K-25 facility and its contributions to defense, energy and technology advancements. The site features a timeline chronicling the road to the atomic bomb via East Tennessee, a K-25 site tour where visitors can "walk" through decades of skyline changes, a glimpse of daily life in the construction camp known as Happy Valley, and sneak preview of preservation efforts planned to commemorate the 75-year-old site.

Uranium enrichment operations at the East Tennessee Technology Park ceased in 1985, and the site was permanently shut down in 1987. DOE then began cleanup operations which included demolition of many of the site's structures, including five massive gaseous diffusion buildings. DOE is currently working to transform the site into a private sector industrial park.

The City of Oak Ridge has announced its decision to begin managing Centennial Golf Course internally through the Recreation and Parks Department, releasing the private firm Billy Casper Golf from their management contract. The transition will begin immediately and is expected to be complete by the end of November.

The City chose to make the move in order to initiate repairs to the facility on an aggressive timeline. The golf course will not close during the management transition or subsequent renovations. Nine holes will remain open while crews work on the rest of the course. Cart path repairs are planned along with drainage improvements and the installation of guard rails and other safety measures. The driving range and clubhouse will also remain open. The City will be honoring passes and memberships purchased prior to this change.

"Golf is an extremely dynamic sport and we have to adapt in order to remain competitive," City Manager Mark Watson said of the decision. "Our goal is to have a truly great public golf course and this is the first step in making that a reality."

Centennial Golf Course features 18 holes and a driving range situated on roughly 200 acres just off Edgemoor Road in Oak Ridge. Golf lessons are available and will continue to be offered through the Des Mahoney Golf Academy. The Recreation and Parks Department expects to have the full course operational by early April 2018, just in time for spring golf tournaments.

"Making necessary repairs and improvements over the winter months is first on our to-do list once we have our staff in place," Recreation and Parks Department Director Jon Hetrick explained. "After that, we will begin focusing on ways to increase awareness of the course and generate new interest in this public amenity."

Centennial Golf Course opened in 1996. Billy Casper Golf has managed the course since 2000. Please allow for patience and understanding as the golf course goes through this transition. To book tee times, please continue to visit Anyone with questions about the transition should contact the Recreation and Parks Department at (865) 425-3446 or email
The City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2017 Children's Halloween Party on Thursday, October 26, from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. This annual event is now in its 35th year and will be attended by hundreds of local children and their parents.

Activities are planned for every room in the Civic Center and include carnival games, inflatables, a toddler game room, Halloween cartoon videos, face painting, concessions, a "scary room," and a glow room. All activities are suitable for younger children. A hay ride will also be offered in A.K. Bissell Park, weather permitting.

There is no admission fee to get into the Civic Center, but participation in most activities requires one or more tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the Civic Center. The cost is 25 cents per ticket or $5 for a pack of 20. The cost of the games, face painting, scary room, hayride, concessions, and souvenirs is one or more tickets. The toddler game room and cartoon videos are free.

For more information, contact Amanda Pope at (865) 425-3450 or email For additional details on this and other events, visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website.
The City of Oak Ridge's Community Development Department is continuing the Oak Ridge City Blueprint effort with a discussion focused on the Midtown residential neighborhood. An open house will be held between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Robertsville Middle School.

Families living in this subarea are encouraged to attend and provide ideas and suggestions for possible neighborhood improvements. Please note that no formal presentation is planned for this event. Those attending can come and go anytime during the open house to meet, ask questions and share thoughts with City staff and board representatives.

WHAT:  Oak Ridge City Blueprint Open House
Midtown Residential Neighborhood 

WHEN: Thursday, October 26, 2017
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Roberstville Middle School
245 Robertsville Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37830

The blueprint is being coordinated by the Community Development Department, with input from the Oak Ridge Planning Commission, as well as other boards, commissions and City leaders. Once finished, it will be a guiding document that provides direction for future growth, development and decision-making. Community Development is planning to host additional meetings as they move forward in order to gain insight and input from other neighborhoods.

The most recent Blueprint open house focused on the Palisades and East Side residential areas. The meeting was held at Glenwood Elementary School on September 28.

A blueprint kick-off meeting was held in January with more than 500 people in attendance. A summary of the feedback gathered during that meeting is available for review on the City of Oak Ridge website. The blueprint is now focused on identifying and defining priorities for subareas. Residents can review subarea plans online and keep track of upcoming meeting dates.

For more information on the open house event and the Oak Ridge City Blueprint effort, contact the Community Development Department at (865) 425-3531.
Our 75th anniversary has arrived and the calendar is full of amazing events that will help us celebrate this milestone. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the events so far!

Current items on the community calendar include: the Camera Club of Oak Ridge's 69th Annual Photographic Salon, another Ruth Carey Photo Viewing at the Oak Ridge Public Library (keep reading to see an article on this further down in the newsletter), an anniversary book project organized by the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce's Toy Land Christmas Parade.

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.

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.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department hosted a fire prevention celebration on October 7th as part of the City's 75th anniversary.

In the 1940s, Oak Ridge hosted a parade during Fire Prevention Week every October to help spread the word about fire safety. ORFD hopes to rekindle this tradition in honor of the City's milestone anniversary.

The celebration kicked off with a "Then and Now" themed parade at ORFD Fire Station #3 on Tuskegee Drive. The parade ended in A.K. Bissell Park where participants and visitors gathered for opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. 

Afterwards, the crowd enjoyed being able to check out current and antique fire engines up close. Antique emergency services equipment was on display as well. The event also featured bounce houses, safety information booths and a fire sprinkler and emergency response demonstration.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department is continuing their fire prevention education mission this week and next week by visiting students in the classroom to show them what they can do at home to be fire safe.

The National Parks Conservation Association held its Regional Council meeting in Oak Ridge to learn more about the Manhattan P roject National Historical Park. Community officials participated in the meeting at the University of Tennessee Arboretum.

L to R: Mark Watson, City Manager; Amy Fitzgerald, Information Services and Government Affairs Director; Tom Beehan, Children's Museum Board Chairman; Ellen Smith, Oak Ridge City Councilwoman; Niki Nicholas, National Park Service; Don Barger, Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association; and Johnathan Sitzler, U.S. Department of Energy.
Main Street Oak Ridge updates continue to roll in as more benchmarks are completed for the project. Construction on the new hotel near Wilson Street and Rutgers Avenue is now underway. Wilson Street has also been repaved and opened back up to traffic between South Tulane Avenue and West Main Street (between Walgreens and Starbucks).

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 .

Electronic Express held an official grand opening celebration on October 5th. Food, fun, prizes, and special deals helped draw a large crowd to celebrate the occasion. Customers lined the sidewalk in front of the store before employees helped cut the ribbon and officially welcome guests to the very first Electronic Express location to open in our area.

Mayor Warren Gooch speaks to the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Electronic Express store in Main Street Oak Ridge.

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 

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.
Jim Henry Day was celebrated on October 2nd in Roane County. In September, the City of Oak Ridge approved a resolution honoring Jim Henry for his dedication to the residents of Roane County and the State of Tennessee.

Mayor Warren Gooch and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Chinn, Jr. join Lt. Governor Randy McNally in celebrating "Jim Henry Day" in honor of the Deputy to the Governor.

Jim Henry began his public service career by joining the U.S. Navy and serving in the Vietnam War. In 1971, Henry was elected to the Kingston City Council at the age of 26. He also served as Kingston's mayor from 1973 to 1978. Henry served six terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, three of them as Minority Leader. In 2015, Henry was appointed as the Deputy to the Governor and Chief of Staff for Governor Bill Haslam.
The Oak Ridge Police Department teamed up with the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program to host a National Night Out celebration on October 3rd in A.K. Bissell Park.

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. 

National Night Out is celebrated across the country and includes fun and family friendly activities for adults and children. The ORPD K-9 demonstration seemed to be a big hit with all ages. We'll see you again next year!

Take a look at some of the photos from the evening below...

The Oak Ridge Police and Fire Departments, along with East Tennessee Children's Hospital, are hosting one more child passenger seat checkpoint this year in Oak Ridge.

These events are held for parents and caregivers to receive educational material about car seats, have their car seats checked for any manufacturer recalls, and have the seats examined for proper installation. 

The child passenger seat checkpoints are free and open to the public. The event will be held at Oak Ridge Fire Station #2, 609 Oak Ridge Turnpike (near Home Depot), from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on November 11th.

Children's Hospital advises anyone planning to attend a car seat inspection to be sure to bring your child restraint seat instructions and vehicle owner's manual. Also, to make the process more efficient, please install your child restraint seat to the best of your ability before attending the inspection.

For more information, contact the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-3504 or the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.
Registration for the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department's Winter Basketball Leagues opens Monday, October 30, with an organizational meeting at the Civic Center.

Early registration for both youth and adult leagues ends Monday, November 13, with late registration closing on Wednesday, November 22.

Youth league registration is accepted for high school aged boys and girls. Senior division players must be in grades 9-12 or no older than age 18 by December 1 to qualify.

Games are tentatively scheduled to begin the week of December 4. Both boys' and girls' leagues will be hosted on Saturdays at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. Men's and Women's league games will be played on Mondays and/or Thursdays. Adult and youth leagues will run through approximately the end of February with a break in play for the holidays.

Interested teams, coaches or individual players may obtain registration information from the front desk of the Civic Center, or print the info from the Recreation and Parks Department website.

The organizational kickoff event has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on October 30 in the Social Room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center. For additional information, contact Matt Reece with the Recreation and Parks Department at (865) 425-3440.
The Jackson Square Tennis Courts, located on Broadway Avenue in Oak Ridge, are closed for court surface maintenance. 

The closure began on October 13 and is estimated to last approximately four weeks, depending upon weather and other conditions.

For more information about the Jackson Square Tennis Courts closure, please contact the Recreation & Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.
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 the final photo viewing day scheduled this year:
  • Saturday, November 4, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
The library will make the Ruth Carey Collection available for public viewing on the date listed above. All events will take place in the library auditorium. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. No call or RSVP is necessary.


In case you didn't know, Sunday hours resumed last 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.


You still have a few days to see the art exhibit at Oak Ridge Public Library for the month of October. The display features a collection of black and white photography created by Jeff Tidwell.

Mr. Tidwell first became involved with photography at a young age, when he would assist his father in the darkroom at Webb School. He works with 35mm, medium format, as well as digital photography. In addition to fine art photography, Mr. Tidwell has captured memories of weddings, special events and is skilled in black and white photo reproduction. He currently operates Tidwell Images Photography and offers digital studio portraiture.

He loves the idea of capturing a moment in time and letting it tell its own story. This exhibit includes striking portraits and showcases the strength of dancers.

Please visit the Oak Ridge Public Library during the month of October to view the wonderful photographs that are on display.
We are currently accepting applications for Public Works Operations and Division Manager. Under administrative direction of the Public Works Director, this position plans, directs and supervises a major Public Works division, encompassing the maintenance and operations of streets, sidewalks, storm water systems, building maintenance, and fleet maintenance. 

The City is also hiring for Accounting Manager. This position o versees functions which may include purchasing, warehousing, utility plant accounting and budgeting, accounts payable, and/or other areas of financial and accounting management.  

Applications for both of these positions are due by noon on  Friday, November 17, 2017.

View all current job openings and find out how to apply by visiting the  Employment section of our website.
City Manager Mark Watson recently met with TN Comptroller of the Treasury Justin P. Wilson, Chief of Staff Jason Mumpower, and City Managers from around the region to discuss issues of importance to municipalities. 

A diverse crowd of city staff, homeowners, landscapers, tree cutters, and others attended a City Workshop on August 29th entitled "The Ash Tree Demise: What is the Emerald Ash Borer and What Can We Do About it?"

The news was important, but dire - communities are going to spend millions of dollars on the treatment and/or removal of Ash Trees. The budget impact is significant, but the bigger issue is ensuring the safety of people and property. 

An informed community will be better prepared to deal with what is happening, why it is happening and what can be done to avoid injury or damage.

Nathan Hoover, a forester from the Tennessee Division of Forestry, Department of Agriculture (Nashville), gave an overview of the basic information starting with identification:
  • Ash trees have opposite branches.
  • The leaves consist of 5-11 leaflets.
  • The pattern of bark is a distinctly ridged in mature ash trees.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) attacks all four species of ash in Tennessee (green, white, black, and blue), as well as the White Fringe tree. Damage is caused by the larvae which feed in tunnels just below the bark, disrupting water and nutrient transport, causing the entire tree to eventually die. Chemical treatment is expensive, must be done in the early stages of disease where there is less than 30% dieback, and requires re-application every year or two.
Hoover also indicated that East Tennessee is fully involved in the Ash devastation and millions of trees have already died. The EAB was discovered at a truck stop in Knox County in 2010. By 2012, 18 counties were under quarantine, including Anderson County. At last check, the number of counties (all in east and middle Tennessee) under quarantine in 2017 is 59. Firewood cannot be moved from a quarantined county to one that is not under quarantine.

The vast spread of the EAB presents a significant safety issue. The Ash trees become very brittle as the tree dies from the top down. This is a threat to the tree cutting professionals that will take the tree down as it can "explode," endangering utility workers trying to clear the utility lines. It's also a threat to the public due to the risk of a dead tree falling in a backyard, in a park or along streets. Often the diseased tree is not noticed until it is already dead because it takes a few years before it shows the signs of mortality.

Glenn Taylor, a biologist with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, discussed what steps the park is taking to protect the public. Since 2009, park officials have been monitoring for the presence of EAB. He mentioned high use areas - like roadsides, campgrounds and picnic areas - as their first priority. Infestations were confirmed in 2012 at Sugarlands Visitor Center and at the Greenbrier entrance to the park. Taylor mentioned that woodpecker activity on ash trees is an excellent indicator of an EAB infestation. EAB and other tree pests can be transported in firewood. Only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a state agency may be brought into the park.  

Through 2016, 344 ash trees were treated for EAB including: 
  • Highway US 441 to Alum cave: 168 trees
  • Chimneys picnic area: 72 trees
  • Deep Creek Campground: 64 trees
The City of Oak Ridge has been conducting an inventory of its Ash trees with the assistance of students Hayley Rideout and Nicholas Herron from the University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries. This work is being done under the advisement of Associate Professor Sharon Jean-Philippe, Ph.D. and David Vandergriff, a Board Certified Master Arborist, and also adjunct faculty at UT.  

They have determined that most of the Ash Trees in Oak Ridge are beyond the treatment stage. The students first inventoried the trees that could impact power lines, categorizing them in terms of potential risk factors (improbable, possible, probable, imminent). They also evaluated the percentage of canopy loss, overall condition and the size of the trees (diameter). 

There were 616 trees evaluated for utility risk. Of those, the average canopy loss was 79%. 32% of those trees were already dead and 56% were in poor condition. 59% of those trees were categorized as having an imminent risk to the power lines. 

In addition to evaluating trees near power lines, the students also went to 16 City Parks (including the pool). 71 trees were evaluated and 95% were found to be dead or in poor condition. Two greenways were also evaluated - of the 298 trees looked at in Melton Lake and Emory Valley Greenways, 185 were dead or in poor condition.

This data will be vital in order to prioritize and remove the trees posing the most significant threats first. The students also reached out to nearby municipalities and private tree companies to determine their experience with EAB, information that can be used to assist with Oak Ridge tree planning.

The Oak Ridge Reservation forester, Greg Byrd, painted an even more discouraging view of the impact of the EAB. Byrd estimates there are about 100,000 ash trees on government managed land, with at least 15,000 large trees. He estimates there will be 99% mortality. 

The loss of ash wood will impact several markets as it is good for wood carving, crates, baseball bats, and guitar bodies. It is hard to imagine an easy replacement wood. Byrd stressed that the more diverse the forest, the better able to survive these tree diseases. Byrd was hired to manage the southern pine beetle that decimated the white pine. He said there are more diseases on the way, such as the gypsy moth which will kill any tree. 

As large numbers of trees are killed, there is also a release of carbon that will be associated with the rotting or burning of dead trees, impacting carbon footprints.

There are no known natural predators that have been proven to be effective, though there are several related experiments in progress. The public was advised to be careful when hiring tree cutters and to be certain they have liability insurance, otherwise the home owner has to pay if an individual is hurt while working on private property.  As ash trees are removed, a diverse cross section of native trees are recommended to replace them.  

The workshop was an excellent source of information and was sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Tree Board, and the University of Tennessee Arboretum.
The second phase of the Turtle Park Sewer Rehabilitation Project began during the first week of October. Hurst Excavating, LLC, is working under contract for the City of Oak Ridge to rehabilitate sewer collection pipes within City easements as well as in yards and roadways.

Work will be performed in the Turtle Park Sewer Shed ( click to see map), located west of Highland Avenue, east of Newport Drive, north of Vanderbilt Drive, and south of West Outer Drive. Residents in the area should have received door hangers on orange paper providing general project details and contact information for Hurst Excavating, LLC.

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are urged to use extreme care and caution when traveling on streets within the sewer work area. Temporary road repairs will be made and loose gravel should be expected until the patches are permanently paved. 

The estimated completion date for the project is June 2018. All construction work is subject to change and is based on such unknowns as the weather, equipment availability and access issues.

Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department at (865) 425-1875 or via email:

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