ORT: Blankenship grant would require public access

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, accepting a state grant of $480,000 for Blankenship Field, primarily for synthetic turf means that the facilities must be open to the public.

There could be exceptions for previously scheduled events that are coordinated through the Oak Ridge school system, but keeping the facilities open to the public is part of an operational agreement with Oak Ridge Schools that was amended in a 7-0 vote by Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, November 13.

Officials say there will be a bathroom available, and the facilities will be open sunrise to sunset. There could be field rentals as well, according to ORT.

The total project is estimated at $1 million.

The Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation requires a 50 percent match. The match is supposed to be provided by the nonprofit Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation, and it can be a mix of cash and in-kind contribution.

Besides the synthetic turf, the state grant is also expected to help pay for track improvements, upgraded restrooms, fencing between the football field and track, and improvements to the Cedar Hill trailhead behind the visitors bleachers at Jack Armstrong Stadium, officials said in January.

It’s not clear yet when the work at Blankenship Field will start. No start date has been publicly announced.

The City Council unanimously supported the grant application for synthetic turf at Blankenship Field in March last year. It’s part of the first phase of a multi-million-dollar proposal to renovate Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong Stadium.

Previous work has included replacing the visitors side bleachers and renovating the Broadway Avenue parking lot. Other projects previously reported to be included in the first phase of the work at Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong Stadium include installation of an LED scoreboard with video and media options, a new entrance with ticket booths at field level, and new fencing, visitors concessions and restrooms, and home side bleachers and grandstand.

Phase II of the stadium renovation would include a new home side stadium with expanded locker rooms, press box, and club seating and communications, Oak Ridge Today reported in March 2016.

For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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