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It's been a busy year for Main Street Oak Ridge! We broke ground on the project back on July 20, 2016. 365 days later, four new stores are open, another four are slated to open soon, and additional retail space is on the verge of being completed.

So what's around the corner for Main Street? T.J.Maxx has announced an opening date of Sunday, August 6, at 8 a.m. Rack Room Shoes is scheduled to hold a grand opening on Thursday, July 27, making it the fifth store to open this summer.

PetSmart is the most recent store to welcome customers to Main Street. They held a soft opening on Monday, July 10, leading up to the grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 15. 

Before that, Dick's Sporting Goods held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, June 27. Their three-day grand opening celebration between Friday, June 30, and Sunday, July 2, drew large crowds all weekend. A line wrapped around the store on Saturday for a special appearance by former UT football player and recent first round NFL draft pick Derek Barnett. He signed memorabilia for a few hundred fans.

Maurices and Rue 21 are also open, having both held grand openings in June. Ulta and Electronics Express are also expected to open this summer, but official dates have not yet been announced.

As a reminder, Belk and JCPenney are OPEN and have been throughout demolition and construction for 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 RealtyLink's website.

Bring your towels, blankets and floats for a movie at the outdoor swimming pool on July 22!  

You can sit in the grassy beach area or float in the shallow end of the pool and watch "The Shallows," a thriller starring Blake Lively as a surfer fighting for her life after a shark attack leaves her injured and stranded. She must find a way to escape the circling shark to get back to the shore. 

The movie is rated PG-13 and is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. Admission is $3 per person. Only cash is accepted at the gate. Drinks and popcorn will be available for purchase.

Another movie night is set for next month on August 5. Watch for more details on that event soon!


The outdoor pool will be extending open hours into August this year. New hours will begin Monday, July 31. 
For the dates of Monday, July 31, through Friday, August 18, the extended hours are as follows:
  • Monday - Friday: 100m lap swim and kiddie pool open 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.*
  • Wednesdays: After school open swim 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Open swim 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

*The 100m lap swim and kiddie pool will be closed for a special event on August 2, 2017.

For more information on aquatics programs, facilities and operating hours through the Recreation and Parks Department, call (865) 425-3450. 

The City of Oak Ridge's Community Development Department is continuing the Oak Ridge City Blueprint effort with a discussion focused on the High Ridge West and Southwood residential areas. An open house will be held between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, at Oak Ridge Country Club to gather additional community feedback.

Families living in both of these subareas are encouraged to attend and provide their ideas and suggestions for possible neighborhood improvements. Those attending can come and go anytime during the open house to share thoughts with City staff and board representatives.

     What: Oak Ridge City Blueprint Discussion
High Ridge West/Southwood Community Open House

     When: Thursday, July 27, 2017 
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

     Where:  Oak Ridge Country Club
150 Gum Hollow 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.

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.

The City of Oak Ridge is welcoming a new Director of Community Development. Wayne Blasius was selected to lead the department earlier this month and will start in his new position on August 28.

Wayne Blasius joins the City from his position as Executive Director of the non-profit East Tennessee Community Design Center. Previously, Mr. Blasius served as President of the InSite Development Corporation in Knoxville from 2001 to 2015. He also consulted on energy management, infrastructure and sustainability matters for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and served as Deputy Director of the City of Knoxville's Department of Community Development. Mr. Blasius received his Master of Science in Planning from the University of Tennessee.

"I am extremely pleased to announce that Wayne Blasius will be joining us in the City of Oak Ridge as our new Director of Community Development," City Manager Mark Watson said. "Wayne brings to us extensive public and private sector experience. He is particularly knowledgeable about the many changes in housing and public spaces in Knoxville and will bring that experience to Oak Ridge as we continue our own community renaissance and redevelopment."

"The opportunity to help shape the future of such a unique, growing community doesn't come along often," Mr. Blasius added. "I look forward to joining this incredibly professional team."

The City began the search for a new director in May when current Community Development Director Kathryn Baldwin announced she would be retiring after 16 years of service with the City. Her last day is July 28.

Please join us in welcoming Wayne Blasius to the City of Oak Ridge.
Updated design concepts for the Oak Ridge Preschool project were presented during a community meeting at the Scarboro Community Center on July 11. 

The meeting, the fourth in a series of public forums to discuss plans for the preschool facility that will be built in Scarboro Park, was the last step in the conceptual design process. Architects will now begin work on construction drawings. 
You can view the full presentation at the link below.


An estimated 45 people were in attendance at the July meeting. Various members of City Council and the Oak Ridge Board of Education have been present at each meeting, along with City staff members and representatives from Studio Four Design, the architectural firm selected for the project. 

During a previous meeting in May, two potential site design concepts were presented so that citizens could vote for their favorite. The total vote count was 18 in favor of option one and 13 in favor of option two. The most popular site concept was used to create the rendering and plan presented during the July meeting.

We continue to encourage the community to ask questions and provide suggestions about what they'd like to see with regards to the preschool project and its impact. If you'd like to see some of the comments collected at the community meeting in May, click the link below:


You can watch our website for updates on this project. We also will post news and events related to the preschool here in the newsletter as well as online and on social media.

BACKGROUND: Oak Ridge City Council voted during a special-called meeting on March 27, 2017, to select the Scarboro Park site as the location for a new Oak Ridge Preschool. The City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools had been working to choose a site for the new preschool for approximately two years. Once the new building is complete, the preschool will relocate from the school administration building on New York Avenue. Members of a committee formed to recommend possible sites looked at city-owned properties and a multitude of factors that would impact future students, their families and the community as a whole. Scarboro Park, the site ultimately selected by City Council and the Board of Education, is across the street from the Scarboro Community Center on Carver Avenue.

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will be hosting their first-ever Senior Citizens' Day at the City's outdoor pool next month.

The pool will be reserved exclusively for seniors age 50 and older on Wednesday, August 2, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The pool facility is located at 172 Providence Road.

Local life insurance company WoodmenLife will be on site as a sponsor, providing music and food for the event. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. on a first come, first served basis while it lasts.


All seniors age 50 and up are invited to join us for some fun in the sun. The event is free, but anyone planning to attend is asked to call the Oak Ridge Senior Center at (865) 425-3999 by July 31 to reserve your spot.

The City of Oak Ridge sponsored a fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day this year. The display was held in A.K. Bissell Park on July 4. The Oak Ridge Community Band, now in their 73rd year, performed prior to the fireworks. Merle FM 96.7 helped with the countdown to the show and provided the soundtrack to the fireworks. We hope you enjoyed the event! Here are some of our favorite photos from the evening...

Submitted by: 
Melanie Reynolds Heiberg

Submitted by: 
Macie and Bradley Phillips

Submitted by:
Heather Swanson

Submitted by:
Crystal Scott

A group of art students from Roane State Community College were recognized along with their instructor at the City Council meeting on July 10 for their work creating brightly colored murals that now adorn part of the outdoor pool facility on Providence Road.  The underwater scene is hard to miss and brings new life to the buildings.

Bryan Wilkerson, Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Roane State, coordinated the project. Students who volunteered to assist with painting the mural include Martha Bennett, Asher Chance, Lilly Childs, Clarissa Feldt, Elise Gobert, Jack Gobert, Robert Gobert, Melena Haynes, Mary Klages, Michelle Leal, Haley McCulloch, Awren Mullins, Waiverly Mullins, Kaitlin Paine, Lucy Roussa, Lucy Scarbrough, Marsha Scarbrough, Gracie Scott, Madison Seiber, Megan Strunk, Victoria Waterman, Brody Wilkerson, Seth Wilson, Evan Wolfe, Joey Wood, Katie Wood, and Steven Young.

Professor Wilkerson attended the recent City Council meeting with some of those students to accept a proclamation recommended by Council Member Jim Dodson. The proclamation honors them for their efforts creating the mural.

Visitors to the outdoor pool will enjoy these beautiful paintings for many years to come. We'd like to thank all of those involved in the project!
Don't forget to stop by the  Oak Ridge Farmers Market! The market has been open since April 15 in historic Jackson Square. They're open every Saturday and added their Wednesday hours on June 7.

Vendors will be set up between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays until later in the year. Wednesday hours are from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The farmers market offers sustainably produced grass-fed meat, hand-picked produce, farm fresh eggs, artisan bread and cheese, local honey, flowers and farm-based crafts. The vendors are 100% local.

The market is put on by the East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing (FARM).

With so much construction and road work going on around our City, the Public Works Department would like to remind everyone to use extreme care and caution while driving in and around work zones. 

An estimated 96,000 crashes occurred in work zones nationwide in 2015. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, more than 4,000 of those crashes happened in our state.

We can all help lower these numbers. A recent TDOT safety initiative called "Work with Us" asks drivers to pay attention, move over and slow down for workers and first responders.

Below are some helpful hints to keep in mind when you're driving in work zones:
  • Be courteous, patient, and slow down for road and highway workers. 
  • Pay full attention to the roadway; don't distract yourself with cell phones, loud music or navigation systems.
  • Obey posted speed limit signs; they are there not only your protection, but for the protection of the workers.  
  • If at all possible, move to another lane to allow them more space.
  • Respond promptly to flaggers and road/highway workers.
  • Increase your following distance with other vehicles. 
  • Use turn signals and merge into the proper lane well before reaching a lane closure.
We want everyone to make it home safely to their families at the end of each day!


Ditches can be found everywhere in the City, from your own backyard to commercial property. They serve a very important purpose - to convey water. However, a lot of ditches around residential homes were constructed at the time the home was originally built and they are often forgotten. 

Without regular maintenance, ditches can fill with sediment, organic debris and roots. Over time, these can flatten out the ditch. This gradual flattening can change the original path of the water and could lead to structure issues. 

If you have a ditch on your property, make sure to inspect it regularly, especially during rain events to observe the water flow. Conduct regular yard maintenance in and around the ditch, and remember that it is a very important part of your property and should be taken care of.

Helpful maintenance tips for ditches: 
  • Remove sticks and debris that could back up the water flow. 
  • Hand pull weeds, small trees or shrubs if the roots are impeding the flow of water or changing its direction. 
  • Remove any garbage.
  • If the ditch has lost some of its side slopes, hand dig a new trench line. 
  • Seed bare spots with grass to reduce erosion and prevent sedimentation. 
  • If erosion is occurring, line the bottom and sides of the ditch with large rocks. 
  • Do not try to dispose of anything in ditches - the debris can accumulate and cause flooding.

The art exhibit at the Oak Ridge Public Library for the month of July is Parks in FocusĀ®, a photo display presented by the National Park Service.

In September 2016, the National Park Service partnered with the Udall Foundation to launch the Parks in FocusĀ® initiative in Tennessee to introduce Oak Ridge youth to nearby National Parks through photography.

In this first year, the program put cameras in the hands of 21 girls, ages 8-10, from Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge. The girls were guided through over a dozen fun and educational outings, including historic sites in Oak Ridge, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and the Obed Wild and Scenic River.

Led by National Park Service staff, the girls learned about the history of Oak Ridge and its official photographer, Ed Westcott. They honed their photography skills and worked closely with dedicated volunteers.

The art exhibit consists of 28 vibrant color prints, showing landscapes, historic sites and memorabilia. Each image is labeled with the first name of the artist and their age.

Please visit the Oak Ridge Public Library and enjoy this exciting art show during the month of July. For more information on this and other programs, call the library at (865) 425-3455.

About Oak Ridge Public Library:
Oak Ridge Public Library is located at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The library serves a community of nearly 30,000 and features a Children's Room with special programming as well as an extensive archive facility with materials dating back to the early days of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project. You can reach them at (865) 425-3455.
We are currently accepting applications for Electric Operations ManagerUnder general supervision of the Electrical Director, this position supervises and manages the operations, maintenance and construction of the electrical distribution system including training, safety, apprenticeship program, and the supervision of field crews. Applications are due by noon on Friday, August 11, 2017.

The City is also hiring for Firefighter Trainees and Firefighter/Engineers. Mandatory  orientation sessions for the position(s) and a discussion of testing requirements are scheduled for August 14 and 15, 2017 . You must have an application on file with the Personnel Department before attending orientation or bring your application with you to orientation, along with a government issued photo ID. You MUST  attend ONE  of the orientation sessions to be eligible to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) in October 2017. 

The deadline to submit applications for the Public Works Operations Manager (Utilities) position has been extended and will remain open until further notice. Under administrative direction of the Public Works Director, this position plans, directs and supervises all Public Works utilities operations, including water distribution, sewer collection, and the City's water and wastewater treatment plants operation and maintenance.

View all current job openings and find out how to apply by visiting the Employment section of our website.

Have you discovered Oak Ridge Rocks yet? It's a movement that's grown in popularity in our town and many others - painting rocks with cute designs, positive messages and words of encouragement... then placing them in random locations for other people to find. 

Once spotted, you can pick the rocks up and relocate them for others to discover. Before leaving them behind, many people choose to take photos and post them on the Oak Ridge Rocks!! Facebook group   to let the community know what they found and where they found it. Some even choose to give hints for the new location.

It's a simple and fun concept that everyone can enjoy. Some of us here at the City have been painting rocks during our lunch hour. We love the idea and hope everyone keeps participating! 

Oak Ridge Rocks!

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