Tag Archives: Oak Ridge

Roane County’s Certified Sites Still Top Prospects

{Pam May – Interim President & CEO, The Roane Alliance}

Since the program began in 2012, 55 sites across the state have become Select Tennessee Certified Sites. Out of those 55 sites, only nine sites have sold in the program’s seven years. 

Roane County has three certified sites out of the current inventory of 46: 

  • the 44-acre Cardiff Valley Road Site located in Roane County Industrial Park;
  • the 40- acre Jones Road Site located in Roane Regional Business & Technology Park; and
  • the 110-acre Development Area 6 Site located in Oak Ridge’s Horizon Center Industrial Park. 

The program was created to help communities prepare industrial sites for private investment and job creation.  By setting rigorous standards, Tennessee can ensure these sites are prime for development and can provide companies detailed and reliable information about those sites to help with the selection process.  In addition, opportunities have been available through grants to update these sites.  One of those was the Jones Road site that now has a newly constructed industrial grade road leading directly to the site and approximately 11 flat, pad ready acres that were graded to support the buildout of a facility up to 200,000 square feet. 

Having a certified site in your community does not guarantee the success of landing a prospect.  Qualifications for certification require at least 20 acres of developable land for industrial operations, documented environmental conditions and geotechnical analysis, existing onsite utilities or a formal plan to extend utilities to the site, and truck-quality road access.  But much more goes into selecting a site – location, community demographics, quality of life, workforce initiatives, and business climate are some of the most important. 

The Roane Alliance is optimistic, having seen an increase in interest for all three sites, since achieving certification.  The three sites have collectively been receiving around 15 prospect visits each year.  And interest in the Jones Road site continues to gain even more interest because of the addition of the road and pad ready acres.

Interest has also increased because of the relationships built with our economic development partners such as TVA and the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNECD).  Since many prospects and leads come through them, the Roane Alliance has been using the certified sites as a way to stay in the forefront of their minds.  Each quarter, those sites are highlighted in an email that has resulted in some quick replies about potential prospects.  One such prospect is currently considering Roane County, and though the business does not qualify for the Jones Road Site due to jobs and wage requirements we have set, it has led to interest for other sites, including Cardiff Valley. 

Standards for the sites have to be maintained and re-evaluated every three years to receive recertification.  This process ensures the most current and accurate information is available to prospects.   All three sites are due for recertification this year, and the Roane Alliance has begun the process for Cardiff Valley and Jones Road, while Oak Ridge City will submit for Horizon Center. 

To learn more about the Select Tennessee Site Certification Program please visit https://tnecd.com/sites/certified-sites/.

November Was Another Busy Month for County Government – Dec 2018

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The first week of the month had many County Commissioners at the Roane Alliance Gala. The Roane Alliance is the county’s economic development organization. This year’s Gala was once again well attended and supported by our local business and city governments. The Alliance was established in 2001 and has been led by four CEOs over the years. The Alliance is once again in search of a new leader as Wade Creswell has taken a position at Oak Ridge National Lab. Best wishes to Wade and thank you for your public service. The second week the commissioners honored a group of eight new Roane County Treasures. Roane County Treasures is a program started in 2007 that honors men and women who lived and contributed to the betterment of Roane County. A list of Treasures can be found on a plaque on the first floor of the Courthouse.

In the third week, County Commissioner Charlotte Bowers and Executive Ron Woody joined Oak Ridge Representatives at an intergovernmental meeting. They met with the Department of Energy (Oak Ridge Office and Washington DC Office), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and State Legislators to discuss the environmental clean up of the Oak Ridge Reservation and the challenges of cleaning the legacy DOE site.

The commission met the fourth week of November to approve a significant resolution that starts capital improvements for our county schools. For the first time in eight years, the county approved issuing debt. The debt may only be issued for large projects, and school building project qualifies as a large project wherein 7.1 Million in bonds were approved. We anticipate construction will start on the Oliver Springs Middle School conversion to a Middle and High School will begin in late Spring early Summer. This project is estimated over 5 million and another one million was approved for a new sewer plant to service the Midway elementary, middle and high schools. Part of the bond’s proceeds will be shared with the Oak Ridge School system for their county projects.

The County Commission further discussed possible legislation regarding the TVA ash spill at the County Commission meeting. More to come on these issues as a special meeting will be held on December 4th. The commissioner’s plates are full with the TVA Kingston ash spill issues, potential jail construction, and further capital education improvements. Stay tuned.

Ben Wilson – District 6 – Oct 2018

Benjamin Wilson was born in Roane County and has been a resident of Kingston his entire life. Wilson graduated from Calvary Baptist in Kingston and Roane State with a degree in Criminal Justice Investigations. Since graduating, he went into law enforcement and graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in 1993. In 2000, Wilson was hired by Wackenhut Services Inc (WSI) for the Department Of Energy and subsequently graduated from the National Technical Systems (NTS) in Albuquerque, NM. Wilson has served on the Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership Committee Voluntary Protection Program for DOE and is currently a captain with the security force in Oak Ridge under National Strategic Protective Services for the Department of Energy.

In 1993 Wilson married another local from Kingston, Stacey Russell. The Wilsons are proud to raise their three daughters, Sierra, Kaylee, and Abby in Kingston. Enhancing the growth of Roane County and providing a future for his three daughters are in large part the reason why Wilson decided to run for the commission. Wilson wants to ensure a fruitful future for the young sons and daughters of Roane County thru education, jobs, and industry. With gratefulness and humility, Wilson “looks forward to serving our citizens, and making a difference in our community.”

Charlotte Bowers – District 4 – Oct 2018

Charlotte Bowers, having lived in the Roane County part of Oak Ridge for over 40 years, is proud to represent her neighbors as one of the District 4 Commissioners. Bowers says that after “walking around neighborhoods, meeting new people, seeing familiar faces I hadn’t seen in years, and listening to everyone’s concerns, I knew I had made the right decision.” to run for county commissioner. Bowers went to high school in Oak Ridge, taught and played piano at several local churches. She has been Executive Director for 5 of her 8 years with Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County and describes her directorship as rewarding. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of the community and business leaders in Anderson County as so many of them are Habitat supporters.” She works hard to make a difference in her community as an active member of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, the Altrusa Club of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Ministerial Association.

Bowers is building a legacy of using her time and freedom to serve the community for her four grown children. She says that “after Mr. Kelley’s passing, several friends encouraged me to run for that commission seat.” Since her successful campaign, Bowers believes we have a great group of people on the commission and that everyone wants to work together to help make Roane County the best it can be!

In Memory of Steve Kelley – March 2018

This time of the year we generally start writing about the up and coming County Budget, but we shall pause and write about an outstanding Budget Committee member who passed on February 21, 2018, at the age of 63, Steve Kelley. Steve joined the Roane County Budget Committee in September 2011 and served faithfully representing all of Roane County as a member.
Steve was elected from the Oliver Springs, Orchard View and Oak Hills voter
precincts and was a resident of the city of Oak Ridge, TN. He represented his district and Roane County with the utmost integrity and was always inquisitive and fair in his approach to governance. Steve was a quiet leader who earned respect from his fellow Commissioners. He had a passion for education but was concerned about all County Government services and the employees of the County. He loved his wife Renee and three (3) boys. Steve was raised on Dearmond Road in the South of the River community and graduated from Roane County High School. He served our Country in the U.S. Navy and worked at Third Dimension Technologies as he was a self-taught programmer with a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Tusculum College. Steve served with various volunteer organizations including as an executive member of the Roane County Democratic Party. Steve will be missed by his family, his friends, and his fellow workers and Commission colleagues. Steve we will miss your friendship and government leadership.

Hagler Cemetery Moved

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

The only known cemetery that was removed in Roane County during the creation of Oak Ridge was the Hagler Cemetery, which was located where the Graphite Reactor is at the Oak Ridge National Lab. It was removed in 1943 to a location off Hen Valley Road near Oliver Springs. Unfortunately, the cemetery has become very overgrown. There are ten graves that have markers. It is not known how many unmarked graves there may be. There are five Union Civil War soldiers buried here. The oldest marked grave is of Charles Magill who died in 1859.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, July 2018.

Nancy D Magill

Harriet N. Evans Hagler

Evan Evans

Jane Matilda Evans Wyatt

Archibald L. Evans

 

The Lost Churches of Oak Ridge

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

One of the major loses that took place in the creation of Oak Ridge were the closing of churches in that area. There were several active churches when those properties were acquired by the federal government. Three active churches were located in the Wheat Community. Those were the George Jones Baptist Church, the Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Wheat Methodist Church. The George Jones Baptist Church (the original name was Mount Zion Baptist Church) was started about 1852. The current structure, which is still standing, was built in 1901. The Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church was established in 1891, and the building that was there had been constructed in 1901. The Wheat Methodist Church was started about 1873. There were three other known churches, located in different parts, which were the New Bethel Baptist Church, the Friendship Baptist Church, and the East Fork Baptist Church. The New Bethel Baptist church, which is still standing, was started in 1852. The Friendship Baptist Church, which was located near the New Bethel Baptist Church, was started by people who were removed by the creating of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Both churches were located in the X-10 (ORNL) reservation. The East Fork Baptist Church, was established about 1801, was located near the Roane and Anderson County line and a little distance from the location of the original guard houses on Highway 58 (Oak Ridge Turnpike). The church building that was standing in 1942 had been built in 1901. A cemetery is still located there. The George Jones Church and the New Bethel Church structures were kept because they were used for storage during the building of Oak Ridge. All of the other churches were torn down.

George Jones Baptist Church AKA Mount Zion Baptist Church

Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, November 2017.

The Beginnings of Oak Ridge & The Secret City

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

There have been many important events that have occurred throughout the history of Roane County. The coming of industry to create Rockwood, the Temperance movement which brought about Harriman, the Tennessee Valley Authority which brought power to rural areas and many others made dramatic impacts in Roane County. However, the creation of “Oak Ridge” may have had the most impact. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese brought the United States into World War II. Here in Oak Ridge and other plants in the United States, the atomic bomb was developed which were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The development of the atomic bomb had to be kept top secret. The first code name for the project was called the “Kingston Demolition Range” but was later renamed “Clinton Engineer Works” after the city of Clinton. One of the reasons this area was chosen was that the area was isolated. It also had power provided by T.V.A., and there were two railroads. Land acquisition began in the fall of 1942. Approximately 56,200 acres in Roane and Anderson Counties were acquired for the project. An important aspect of the land was the ridges which divided the valleys. A plant was located in each valley. At this time there were only about 1,000 families in the area. The average cost of an acre paid was $45 per acre. However, many families received much less. Among the items located in the Roane County Archives are the maps of the Kingston Demolition Range showing all the owners of the different properties which were acquired by the Federal Government.

Among the acquisitions was the Wheat High School, located near the K-25 plant, which was only one of three High Schools ran by Roane County. The other two were Roane County High and Rockwood High. The Harriman High School was run by the City of Harriman. Most of the homes, barns and other outbuildings were destroyed to discourage people and others from moving into them. Those buildings not torn down were used for storage. Two churches, the George Jones Baptist church near the K-25 plant and the New Bethel Baptist Church near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (X-10), which was used for storage, were not torn down and are all that remain in the Oak Ridge part of Roane County before the building of the city.

The Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25) was the first of the three (K-25, X-10, and Y-12) plants to be built. Construction of the Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25) began in 1943 and was built primarily by the J.A. Jones Construction Co., of Charlotte, N.C. at the cost of about $500 million. Carbide and Carbon Chemical Company, later Union Carbide Corporation, became the operating contractor because of its experience in the chemical and metallurgical fields and earlier contributions to the atomic energy program. K-25 was the war code name for the plant “K” representing the Kellex Corporation which designed the plant. In 1945, about 10 percent of all the electric power generated in the United States was required to operate K-25. It consisted of five process buildings—K-25, K-27, K-29, and K-33 and about 70 auxiliary buildings covering about 640 acres. The U-shaped K-25 building was a half-mile long and was the largest building in the world under one roof at that time. Each wing is 2,450 feet long, averages 400 feet in width, and is 60 feet in height. The total area of the building covered 44 acres. Along with K-27, the K-25 process building was shut down in 1964. The plant produced large quantities of enriched uranium-235 from uranium 238 through the gaseous diffusion process to be used either in weapons or to fuel nuclear reactors.

K-25 Footprint

K-25 Aerial View

K-25 Union Carbide Corp USAEC

X10 Reactor Face

X-10


The X-10 (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) plant was built by DuPont for 12 million dollars and completed in October 1943. The letter “X” was used by the University of Chicago in its description of the area. The number 10 had no special significance. It was much smaller than the K-25 and Y-12 plants. During the war, it employed 1,513 people. The primary mission was to build a Graphite Reactor to show that the production of plutonium from uranium in a reactor could fuel an atomic bomb. Its job was to show that plutonium could be extracted from irradiated uranium slugs, and its first major challenge was to produce a self-sustaining chain reaction. And in 1944, chemists produced the world’s first few grams of plutonium. The Graphite Reactor operated from 1943 to 1963. Among the accomplishments through the years at X-10 were:

(1) Production of the first electricity from nuclear energy;
(2) The first reactor was used for studying the nature of matter and the health hazards of radioactivity.
(3) Providing radioisotopes for medicine, agriculture, industry, and other purposes.

The Oak Ridge National Lab is a world-wide known research center for energy, environment, and other things. The Graphite Reactor was declared a registered National Historic Landmark in 1966 and is Roane County’s only such National landmark.

The Y-12 plant was designed and constructed by the Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation of Boston at the cost of about $427, 000. The name of the plant has no special significance. It contained about 170 buildings and was built on 500 acres. The plant was put into use by the operating company, the Tennessee Eastman Corporation of Kingsport, TN, in January 1944. At its peak in 1945, it employed 22,000 people. Its purpose was to separate uranium atoms (U-235 from U-238) using an electromagnetic process developed by Dr. E.O. Lawrence of the University of California. It was the first and only plant of its kind in the world. Y-12 separated the uranium that was used in “Little Boy” the uranium bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. It was the first atomic bomb to be used as a weapon. The other bomb, “Fat Man,” a plutonium bomb, which was developed in Hanford, Washington, was dropped three days later on Nagasaki, Japan. After the war, the plant started manufacturing uranium components for nuclear weapons. The construction of parts for nuclear weapons by the Y-12 plant played an important part in eventually ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Knoxville News-Sentinel Headline

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community between June and September 2012.