Oak Ridge Hosts Energy Communities Alliance Meeting


The City of Oak Ridge was proud to host visitors from across the country as part of the recent Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) Peer Exchange focused on the continued implementation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The meeting, held on August 14 and 15 in Oak Ridge, had an excellent turnout with many guests from the additional National Historical Park host communities of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the cities near Hanford, Washington, making the trip to Oak Ridge. Other attendees traveled from Aiken, South Carolina, to learn more about Oak Ridge and the National Park.

Local officials, including Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, Roane County Executive Ron Woody, Oak Ridge City Councilmember Chuck Hope, and City Manager Mark Watson welcomed the invitees. National Park Service officials and representatives from tourism bureaus, historical societies, and economic development councils also took part. Oak Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Rick Chinn and City Councilmembers Ellen Smith, Kelly Callison, Jim Dodson, and Derrick Hammond attended sessions as well.

Discussion during the two-day event highlighted the Manhattan Project National Historical Park’s assets across all three sites and ways in which each community is working to market and grow the park.

Representatives from Oak Ridge and Roane County shared information on new recreational opportunities and national park signage as well as updates on projects like the Oak Ridge Fire Department’s History Center at the Dr. Thomas Howard Scott Manhattan Project Fire House, the memorabilia wall at the Scarboro Community Center, the newly remodeled K-25 Overlook Visitors’ Center, and the Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion project which recently won a Sister Cities International Award for innovation. 

Attendees also learned about the Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a division dedicated to observing, measuring, analyzing, and modeling urban dynamics at the city and global scale.

The ECA is a non-profit, membership organization of local governments adjacent to or impacted by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities. ECA’s goals include bringing local government officials together to share information, establish policy positions, and promote community interests to address an increasingly complex set of constituent, environmental, regulatory, and economic development needs.