The City of Oak Ridge is now accepting applications for members to serve on the Board of Directors to the newly-created Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation.

In September of this year, City Council approved Ordinance No. 08-2013 which established the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation; this first of its kind in the State of Tennessee.

The concept of a land bank first began in 2011 when the City Manager introduced the “Not in Our City” conceptual plan to address several issues facing Oak Ridge, one of which pertaining to blighted housing.  The “Not in Our City” conceptual plan was adopted by the City Council later in 2011.

A land bank is a tool that will be utilized by the City to support economic revitalization through returning vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive use.

“Addressing blighted housing that impacts neighborhoods and property values in the City of Oak Ridge is now a priority for this city government,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson.  “By using the authority that the Land Bank Corporation possesses, the City will have a modernized, expeditious means of reactivating impacted properties.  It will be exciting to see the transformations that takes place in our neighborhoods knowing that a small group of involved citizens had a hand in bettering our housing stock and community.”

The Board of Directors for the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation will consist of seven (7) directors, one of which shall be a member of City Council.  All directors must be residents and taxpayers in the City of Oak Ridge.  Preference may be given for persons in the following fields: banking, real estate, and legal.

Further information regarding needed expertise will be published following the November 11, 2013 meeting of City Council where Council will be establishing qualification preferences for the Board of Directors, establishing goals and objectives for the Land Bank Corporation, and prioritizing the disposition of properties held in the Land Bank.

The terms of office for the initial appointments are as follows:  three (3) directors shall serve through December 31, 2014, and three (3) directors shall serve through December 31, 2015.  Afterwards, the term of office shall be two (2) years commencing on January 1.  The City Council representative shall serve until expiration of his or her current term of office on City Council.  

Applying for membership to the Land Bank Corporation is similar to that of any other city board.  Interested residents must complete a Boards and Commissions application and may attach additional documents that includes cover letters, references, and resumes. 

For convenience, an on-line application has been created and is available on the City Clerk’s departmental website or by visiting www.oakridgetn.gov/online/cityclerk/bcelections. Paper applications are also available in the City Clerk’s Office located in Room Number 109 in the Municipal Building.

To be considered, completed applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013; late applications or submissions will not be considered. 

The election for this board will also take place at a Special Meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, December 16, 2013.

For more information, contact Diana Stanley, City Clerk, at (865) 425-3411 or by e-mail at dstanley@oakridgetn.gov.  

News media contact:  Candice Brogan, (865) 425-3546 or cbrogan@oakridgetn.gov.