New Businesses for Oak Ridge

The Oak Ridge Planning Commission has approved, with conditions, a final plan for construction for three new commercial buildings and a parking area in the location of the current American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE).

The plan is for a 55,000 square foot grocery/retail space that will be unique for the Oak Ridge area. City Officials say it is going to be a unique store and it is very different than any other store in Oak Ridge. The name will be announced at a later date. There also will be an 8,000 square foot tire store going in and that store will be call Tire Discounters. they specialize in tires, oil changes and brake jobs, they also do several fluid checks for cars, truck and fleet vehicles. There will also be 5,800 square feet building for restaurant or retail space that will be named later.

The plans also show places for walking, trees, and parking.

This is all new to the same area where Oak Ridge Main Street has been built. Several new businesses opened last year in the old Oak Ridge Mall location and the area is seeing a lot of new growth. Belks, JC Penny, rebuilt the front of their stores along with new stores like, Electronics Express, Ulta, Petsmart, Dicks, TJ Maxx, Rue 21, and Maurices. Tinseltown Movie Theater also just put in recliners so you can enjoy the movie experience in comfort. There is also a Freddys Frozen Custard and Steakburger that is being built right now and should be open by fall.

There is also talk of a health clinic going in the area but right now it is just talk. The clinic is pending an approval of a land transfer.

Right now the conditions are still in a concept plan and things will be looked at like water and sewer, storm water drainage, utilities. Also traffic and sidewalks will be looked at and how Oak Ridge can improve the flow of traffic in and around the area.

So you may be wandering where the AMSE is going to move to, well its going to be moved over to the old Sears building  near the new Oak Ridge Main Street and and have over 100,000 square feet for displays and exhibits for kids of all ages to play with and learn the history of Oak Ridge. Everything will be on 1 floor so it will accessible for everyone.

Come visit the new Oak Ridge Main Street and see all the new shopping and development in the area and stay with us here at Oak Ridge Lodging. We have fully furnished units that are ready and waiting for you. We offer Efficiency, Studio, One Bedroom, One Bedroom Deluxe and 2 Bedroom units. All of the units are move in ready. One price covers everything including water, power, cable TV and internet, We also offer weekly housekeeping. So please come visit us and the Oak Ridge Area.


Secret City Festival 2018

The Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge is scheduled for June 8th and 9th. It is the 75th anniversary celebration for the city of Oak Ridge and plenty of activities are being held.

Friday June 8th there will be an opening ceremony to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Oak Ridge. there will be a Robotics competition, technology exhibition, Tennessee Creates Juried Art Festival,  there will be a main stage with several local acts featured through out the day. also a pavilion stage with other acts for all ages. More activities will be announced as they are added.

The Little River Band will headline the Secret City Festival concert on Friday night. they had multi-platinum albums in the 1970s and 1980s with chart topping hits the include, “Lonesome Loser”, “The Night Owls”, “Take it easy on me”, “Cool Change”, “Reminiscing”, “Help is on the way”. Concert tickets go on sale late April.

Saturday June 9th there will be a 75th anniversary parade, several local artist will be set up selling there art and crafts. there will be bounce houses, face painting, and plenty of food vendors set up with all the festival food you can handle. There will also be more Robotics competitions and Technology exhibitions along with Tennessee Creates Juried Art Festival. A petting zoo will also be available for all the kids and kids at heart. Science trucks with activities for everyone to see and enjoy.

Saturday nights band as not been announced yet but i am sure it will be great. Past performers have been The Charlies Daniels Band, The Black Lillies, Dr Dog, these are just a few of past performers, cant wait to see how the Saturday night performer will be

Don’t forget to see all of Oak Ridge in this years 75th anniversary. Call Oak Ridge Lodging for your lodging needs for this weekends events, we are only 5 miles from all the fun.

Flu Prevention

The Flu is taking its course here in Oak Ridge Tennessee as is it across the country.  We have been lucky that it hasn’t hit here at Oak Ridge Lodging. This years strain is no laughing matter, it has killed over 60 kids across the country. I wonder how many of those could of been prevented if someone would of just took a little prevention. WASH YOUR HANDS as often as possible, use hand sanitizer when possible, also use the face masks that are provided in the hospitals if you have to go to one.

What is the FLU? It is a virus that infects the respiratory tract.

Flu symptoms:  Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle ache, and fatigue

The incubation period for the flu is about one to four days

The flu is contagious and normally last seven to fourteen days.

The flu can be transferred directly or indirectly. Directly is from person to person through airborne droplets from coughing and sneezing nad indirectly from touching something someone has coughed or sneezed on.

The flu could develop into Pneumonia it not treated.

The most harmful strain this year has been the H3N2. If you are getting the flu shot Dr.s are saying that it only covers about 30 percent of this strain.

I recently saw an interview with a Dr and she said for every 5 cases of flu that come into the E.R., 15 cases are leaving. that was staggering news to hear.

So please do a little prevention and wash you hands, use hand sanitizer when you can and cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.

We look forward to seeing you healthy and happy here at Oak Ridge Lodging in Oak Ridge Tennessee.

Who is Ed Westcott?

A standing-room-only crowd of close to 200 people gathered in the Wildcat Den of the Midtown Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 20, to attend a 75th Anniversary Event to celebrate Ed Westcott’s 96th birthday. If you missed this, you missed a great event!

For photos see:

Featured was a 15-minute documentary film, “Ed Westcott — Photographer,” (you can view the documentary online here:, as well as proclamations from the Tennessee Legislature presented by state Rep. John Ragan and from the city of Oak Ridge presented by Mayor Warren Gooch. The day was declared Ed Westcott Day in Oak Ridge!

There were 40 of Ed’s most recognized black-and-white photographs framed with classic black mats and black frames by the Appalachian Frameshop on display on tables covering two of the long walls of the Wildcat Den. For the two hours of the event, those photographs were constantly being viewed by people. Only when the documentary film ran did the viewing pause.

While it is apparent that Ed is an Oak Ridge icon and local celebrity who has national recognition, I was amazed at the number of people desiring to be photographed with Ed or just wanting to shake his hand.

Amazing also were the children who sought him out. He loves to be around children. You can see the delight in his expression and the gleam in his eye when kids are about him.

For more: See Oakridger News full article:


Oak Ridge Lodging is proud to be a part of this magnificent trail system. The article below mentions the 12 miles of trails on the west end of Oak Ridge. These 12 miles of trails is located directly across the street of our front door!!!  Be sure to read the article below, for more details on this great trail system you can visit Oak Ridge Trails System

Oak Ridge, TN  Greenways: History and Future      
By Ben Pounds/The Oak Ridger   Posted Jan 17, 2018 at 1:31 PM

Oak Ridge now has 89 miles of greenways on which people can walk and ride bikes, but they weren’t always a part of the city.

Dan Robbins, chairman of Greenways Oak Ridge, spoke to City Council in December about the 25th anniversary of his organization and how it, and the greenways themselves, got started.

“A system of trails and bike paths linking the community of Oak Ridge where citizens can enjoy nature’s beauty while preserving the environment and promoting health,” Robbins said, describing a 1992 citizen committee’s initial vision for the greenways.

He defined greenways as “linear parks or open spaces established along natural corridors,” which allow traffic flow for pedestrians and bicycles. However, he said that definition includes many kinds of paths in Oak Ridge, including simple cleared dirt walking trail, such as the Cedar Hill Greenway; Department of Energy patrol roads opened to the public, such as the North Boundary Loop Trails; and formed hard-surface trails, such as the Melton Lake Greenway.

Currently, the system includes nine miles of paved trails, 32 miles of gravel DOE patrol roads, 13 miles of dirt hiking trails and 35 miles of biking trails, including Haw Ridge Park.

Robbins said Council first authorized a citizens’ group to establish the need, feasibility and funding sources for greenways in 1992. They produced a report in 1993.

Robbins mentioned that report’s statement of greenways’ benefits for the community, which he said were still true. These include increased property values, attracting residents, allowing for motorless commuting, linking community facilities, providing recreational physical activity and providing an outdoor classroom. He said The Oak Ridger endorsed the concept in its Sept. 20 1993 edition and then City Council unanimously approved the concept the same day. The citizen committee, at Council’s request, became the group Greenways Oak Ridge.

Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the state of Tennessee, Cedar Hill Greenway, Oak Ridge’s first greenway, opened in 1994.

The Oak Ridger, as shown in a PowerPoint slide of Robbins’s presentation ran a story on its opening. The story quoted Greenways task force member Bill Matheny calling it a “Cadillac of greenways.”

Robbins said that greenway’s opening encouraged neighborhood groups to contact Greenways Oak Ridge for information on creating greenways in their neighborhoods. In May 1995, Elm Grove Greenway opened, and Robbins said it started due to enthusiasm by that neighborhood.

“We don’t have much money. Our capital is people’s enthusiasm and wanting to work with creating a greenway,” Robbins said.

He then gave details on the Melton Lake Greenway. The Oak Ridger mentioned a state grant for it in 1996, but Robbins said it was not complete until 2012.

Robbins spoke particularly well of that greeenway’s Phase IV from Edgemoor Bridge to Haw Ridge Park with its deer, squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, otters and 95 bird species. Robbins works as a trail steward for the section, walking it up to five times per week. The route connects to the Haw Ridge Park trails, which Robbins said attract many users.

He then mentioned partnerships with the DOE in opening some of its gravel roads to the public. DOE still owns them, but the city covers liability insurance.

On the west end, Robbins mentioned 12 miles of shaded trails that are part of the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Easement.

Robbins mentioned the responsibilities of the 10 trail stewards include picking up trash, but also more unusual ones such as handing out doggie bags to dog walkers. The trail stewards — he’s one — contribute 30 to 40 volunteer hours per month.

Robbins responded to various criticisms, including property owners who said greenways might lead to vandalism near their property.

“As it turns out, people who like to do vandalism don’t like to walk,” Robbins said.

Plans for future

Among the future projects is the Rails to Trails project, which involves converting CSX rails into trails. Robbins said it will connect Elza Gate to an area near the entrance to Y-12 National Nuclear Securty Complex. Robbins said the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) had approved $1.2 million of the cost while the city had committed $306,000. However, Robbins said the project will probably cost more than the sum of those two amounts.

At a separate meeting in December, city Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick told the Municipal Planning Commission he hoped to have a contract ready to present to Council for that project in February. Hetrick said the right- of-way had not yet been transferred due to a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation grant requiring an environmental study and design work before the transfer.

“CSX has made it very clear that they very much want to sell us that property,” Hetrick said.

East Fork Poplar Creek Greenway was another project Robbins mentioned. He said it will go along the creek from the intersection of Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike to the West End Fire station.

Robbins also mentioned a long-term project.  “In the longer term — in our dreams — it would be nice to go from Elza Gate to

Clinton along the river,” he said.

Greenway implementation marks the largest planned expense in the parks section of the Capital Improvements Project draft, a document which sets aside money for long-term projects from 2019 through 2024. It includes $1.43 million in 2019 and $1.25 million in 2020, but no spending any of the other years. Only 20 percent of that funding comes from the capital projects fund with 80 percent coming from federal, state and other funding sources.

Call Ben Pounds at (865) 220-5502 and follow him on Twitter.

Oak Ridge TN. Snow Days

One of many things so positive about Oak Ridge, Tn. is our mild winters. Today it is 55 Degrees here in Oak Ridge Tennessee, yesterday it was 69. But, there is speculation that there may be 2 to 4 inches of snow in a few days, but they have been wrong before. The Oak Ridge children pray, let it snow! Last year was a very mild winter and we did not have many snow days. Happy adults, but unhappy children. The year before, the children must have prayed extra hard. We had so much snow the children received the good news, Oak Ridge Schools closed for 9 days, and they had snow for two weeks to play with.

I am like the children in Oak Ridge, I love when we get the snow. We have some hills here on the property of Oak Ridge Lodging. When it snows the kids will get out the sleds, or storage bin lids, and slide for hours, only to come in to warm up and to down some hot chocolate with marshmallows.

The pond at the back of the Oak Ridge Lodging is drained ever winter but when the snow falls it looks like it is still full of water, and even fools some of the wildlife. You will see footprints in the snow from different animals like deer, raccoons, and several types of birds.

If you are out early enough before all of the hustle and bustle and just walk around Oak Ridge Lodging you can see some of the most amazing sights. Like the morning sunlight just starting to bounce off the newly fallen snow. I love that silence snow brings, like the new blanket of snow has covered all noise. It is quiet enough that you can hear the deer walking in the woods trying to find the first meal of the day.
Next time you are enjoying your snow day, just remember that you are not alone, think of us at Oak Ridge lodging in Oak Ridge Tennessee. It may even get you to go inside and look us up on the internet and have you plan your next getaway to visit Oak Ridge Tennessee.

Property Manager’s Personal Reflections of 2017 at Oak Ridge Lodging

As we come to the end of 2017 I reflect on this past year here in Oak Ridge, TN. My heart is overflowing with a sense of community and closeness I have never felt in any other town. I was raised in a small town in Lancaster County, SC. As a child, I just wanted to see the big city. Over the past 10 years I have seen many big cities and realize I am not a big city person. As the saying goes, “we are exactly where we belong.” Oak Ridge, TN and Oak Ridge Lodging (formally WestGate Lodging) has become where I belong, and has been my job and residence since October 2014.
In 2017 we have had so many wonderful guests here at Oak Ridge Lodging. Every one of them leaves a positive memory. There were some very special memories I reflect on during this holiday season.
One couple moved here in 2015 and bought a house in 2017. Seeing them go, was difficult. Knowing they still live locally, makes me feel much better. Having met them showed me a lot about how to really go after a dream. Shari wrote and got her first book published while she was here. Her mother in law who is in her 90s had the same heart replacement surgery my mother will undergo in early 2018. Shari was able to point me to the right doctors for my mother.
Another couple, an Oak Ridge resident for many years stayed with us for five months during repairs to their Oak Ridge home after a house fire. During their time with us they became part of the family. Mr. Tommy and I hit it off due to his love for old cars. He fell in love with my 1968 SS Chevelle I had stored in the back-parking lot, waiting to go to the shop for restoration. To most people they only saw an old rusty piece of junk, but Mr. Tommy and I had a see-saw relationship with cars, he could see what I saw. He saw it the way it was back in the day. He saw a fast, beautiful, and rare diamond in the rough. He even went out of his way to make sure I got to see his 1955 Chevrolet Belair his son had restored for him, oh my goodness, I loved that car. He would always come by our office just to talk with my husband Gary, and me. Mr. Tommy went home to heaven this year, we cried. His wife was also so wonderful, who I will always love like family. She is so kind and sweet. She always gave special attention to our family during a critical illness with our grandson. She still stops in to check on us all from time to time.
Oak Ridge, TN has many wonderful people like this. I could go on and on for hours about the wonderful people here in Oak Ridge, TN. It is a small town feel with all the perks of a big city.
In closing, on behalf of the entire staff here at Oak Ridge Lodging, I want to thank you all for staying with us and for all the kind words you left for us during the holidays.
Happy New Year from all of us here at Oak Ridge Lodging in Oak Ridge, TN.