East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) at Heritage Center, 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 (Highway 58).
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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. Further authorization would be required from City Council once actual costs are determined by the preliminary design.
Approximately $22 million in funding is currently available and allocated for the airport project through the ARC and the AEDF. In-kind contributions from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) for the value of land are to be transferred at minimal cost for this project. The City has received an additional $11 million in State funding for land acquisition, bringing total State investment in the project to $30 million. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to determine the contribution it will make to the project, but the Benefit-Cost Analysis calls for $20 million in funding.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has provided a $40,000 grant for the project.
In March 2021, UT-Battelle Development Corporation contributed $500,000 to assist with the project.
EnergySolutions donated an underutilized railroad track where part of the proposed airport's 5,000-foot runway would go.
Based on a 2018 estimate, the project is expected to cost about $55 million.
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, as current capacity is limited in this market and does not support projected growth and future demand. The proposed airport will support growth in the business, industrial, and tourism sectors and allow leaders to fly to Oak Ridge, putting the City on the map for technology companies. It would incentivize industry developing nearby - like Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals Corp., which is an Eastern U.S. distribution company that develops medical isotopes. The DOE has also voiced their support for the project and stated that it will benefit their operations in Oak Ridge.
The airport will leverage existing assets and strengthen the region's manufacturing base. A secondary goal is the diversification of the Oak Ridge and Roane County economies that will be negatively impacted by anticipated long-term reductions in federal employment that currently numbers approximately 12,000 jobs. Specifically, the design and construction of a new Oak Ridge Airport at the ETTP will support the objective of new manufacturing investment with high-growth potential in the emerging carbon fiber and alternative energy industries.
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.