The plans for a new Airport in Oak Ridge are still being planned according to the City’s newsletter. Here’s a recap:
In 2009, the City of Oak Ridge was advised of an initiative to begin the development of a new general aviation airport in the City. The airport was proposed to be under the ownership and operation of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority which began significant planning efforts on the project. Between 2012 and 2020, MKAA was the recognized agency to lead the planning, research, and funding. They conducted technical reviews to demonstrate the need for the Regional General Aviation Airport.
On July 21, 2020, City Council approved a Resolution authorizing actions related to the Oak Ridge General Aviation Airport. These actions included seeking a transfer of sponsorship of the airport from MKAA to the City of Oak Ridge and initiating transfers of grants related to the airport to the City. MKAA agreed to transfer sponsorship to the City on September 28, 2020, through an assignment and assumption agreement. City staff took steps to transfer grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Tennessee Aeronautics Economic Development Fund (AEDF) from MKAA to the City to realign it with the new sponsorship.
WHERE WILL THE AIRPORT BE LOCATED?
The former K-25 site now The East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) at Heritage Center, will be the area for the new airport, on the site of the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (a.k.a. K-25) and adjacent or roughly parallel to Oak Ridge Turnpike (Hwy 58).
Based on a 2018 estimate, the project is expected to cost about $55 million. No significant funding from the City is anticipated at this time for the project. For grants which require matches, funding will either come from grants from other agencies or in-kind donations. The further authorization would be required from City Council once actual costs are determined by the preliminary design.
The airport project is being managed by the City Manager’s Office. The proposed project has received widespread regional support, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Chambers of Commerce in Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Blount County. The airport, with a 5,000-foot runway, will support general aviation in the Oak Ridge Corridor region.
The City is working to transfer several parcels of land from CROET, DOE, and the private sector. Appraisals of privately-owned lands at the airport site are being renewed, and city staff are working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to begin the acquisition process. The City’s contractor is finalizing the Environmental Assessment and continuing work on the Preliminary Engineering study. The FAA has begun drafting its Section 106 report to submit to the State Historic Preservation Office. The goal is to have planes in the air in 2025.