The City of Oak Ridge will welcome state and local leaders on Friday, April 28, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. for a special dedication of the new 8th rowing lane that will help kick off one of the biggest rowing weekends of the season.
Attendees will gather in Melton Lake Park at the pavilion across from the Oak Ridge Rowing Association and then take a short walk on Melton Lake Greenway to the new overlook for the 8th rowing lane. Once the group is gathered together, we will ceremoniously cut a ribbon for the 8th lane and thank those who were crucial to making the project a reality, including Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, State Representative John Ragan and others who have given their unwavering support.
Two major rowing events are scheduled for the weekend: the Dogwood Juniors Regatta on Saturday, April 29, and the Governor’s Cup and Mayor’s Cup races on Sunday, April 30.
First Place Finish, Inc., was the contractor selected to carry out the project in September of 2016. The $548,350 contract was awarded to the company during a meeting of City Council. The 8th lane was completed on schedule and under budget earlier this year, in time to accommodate spring training and regattas at the Melton Lake rowing venue.
Previously, the course utilized seven rowing lanes, taking Oak Ridge out of the running for any event requiring eight lanes for competition. Part of the waterway was widened and a retaining wall installed in order to create the additional lane.
Construction of the 8th lane was funded by a combination of state appropriations ($250,000 from the State of Tennessee), City Capital Improvement funds and a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Oak Ridge Rowing Association (ORRA), Explore Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Economic Development Initiative, and Visit Knoxville also contributed funds to the project.
Rowing activities have an estimated annual economic impact of more than $2 million for Oak Ridge and surrounding communities. For more information, please contact the Recreation & Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.