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Old 01-05-2007, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,953 posts, read 16,777,660 times
Reputation: 30925
I lived in Oak Ridge for a while and go back there quite a bit to visit friends. While it wasn't my cup of tea, I think most of the people who live there are fanatical about it and never seem to move away.

One of the things I like about a town is a vibrant downtown. It's one of the reasons I can't stand most suburbs like Farragut, Brentwood, Hendersonville, etc. Oak Ridge is similar to those suburbs in that there's no such thing as "downtown Oak Ridge." There's no SOUL to the city, no character, if that makes sense. I prefer a city with a run-down downtown to a city with no downtown. Maybe I'm just weird that way. But in Oak Ridge, you've got a bunch of strip malls, chain restaurants, and subdivisions with curvy streets.


This is one of those po-tay-to, po-tah-to things. In the last 30 years, I have never lived in any place with a downtown. In fact, I haven't parallel parked since my road test a bazillion years ago. I don't like to shop and although I like to drive, I do hate traffic, so I liked Oak Ridge because it was spread out and pretty much what I'm used to in suburbia. There was a comfort level. But, I understand that people do like a downtown area and I'm all for people finding their best spot for them.


But the schools in Oak Ridge are exceptional, easily among the best in the country. And because the city was developed in the days of automobiles, it's pretty spread out and not very crowded. It's also fairly ethnically diverse because people from all over the world go there to do research at the nuclear facilities, and soon the spalatial neutron facility which is set to attract hundreds of additional scientists to the city.

I'm a nerd. Anyone who reads a lot of retirement publications will testify that retirement publications do not address the nerd population about to retire. You never see a retirement publication article titled "10 of The Best Retirement Towns For Engineers/Scientists/Computer Geeks and Researchers." Those of you about to retire and who read these things, can you remember any location retirement article that talks about a retirement location that might feature some activities/events that would appeal to those types? You know us. We were the kids on the chess team, competed in the science fair, played the cello and were in the audio visual club (pre-computer days) when we were in Junior and Senior High School. We went into nerd careers after college. We still have nerd hobbies. But nobody in the reirement PR business seems to want to make an effort to sell us on their town.

The Oak Ridge Institute of Continued Learning (ORICL) was the thing that made me discover Oak Ridge. The first time I looked at their course offerings they were offering classes in things like global economics, quantum mechanics, William McKinley, critical decisions, the maestra and her music, and gene theory. They had a class, that particular semester, where they were teaching retirees how to find and identify box turtles and collect data on them for some science study. They have a NON-fiction book club. One of their trips was to the Frist Museum to see some Egyptian exhibit. The other thing I noticed was the town's annual festival had a robot and one of their annual "competitive" events was carboard boat races (You make the boat out of cardbord - you get in it.) Their museum is a science museum. They have a camera club (the audio-visual kids do grow up). 3 Oak Ridge kids this year just won a very prestigious national science award. The history of the town is both amazing and unusual. I realized that perhaps the cost of living of the area, keeps some of those 12,000 employees on the Oak Ridge reservation in the area after retirement and it is reflected in the courses in the school for retirees and the activities of the town. I think I found nerd nirvana and I'm very excited about moving to Oak Ridge. I really never gave "fitting in" a thought.

I only have 1 concern - crime.
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Old 01-06-2007, 04:06 AM
 
92 posts, read 262,666 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
Kim:

I'm from the northeast and old enough to remember Love Canal!

You are very kind. Here's what I've written before:

Oak Ridge has two sides to the story. You're going have to consider everything and decide for yourself.

Bear with me if you already know some of this. Maybe somebody else doesn't and will benefit.

Oak Ridge was a secret town created by the federal government during World War II. It did not appear on any map and wasn't even named until about 1949.

Oak Ridge separated and produced uranium and plutonium for use in developing a nuclear weapon. Most of the people that lived and worked there did not know exactly what they were doing. They did not know the danger that was involved. Their work was instrumental in dropping one of the bombs in Japan, and ending the war.

At the time, not much was known about plutonium and uranium. There were also experiments conducted in the area, including releases of plutonium into the air as late as 1952.

Having said that, as far as I know, the people that worked there did not necessarily experience unusual cancer rates. Of course, it is hard to tell. The people that worked there were sworn to secrecy. Even the state of Tennessee was in the dark regarding Oak Ridge.

I can't imangine that the public water supply would be bad and would be highly regulated.

I have not heard of unusually high cancer rates in the town. I have heard of high cancer rates in Alcoa, but have since not been able to find the article that I first read.

As far as the bodies of water in Oak Ridge, there are some advisories not to eat the catfish. Personally, I wouldn't eat any of the fish in that water. There is a river, I believe it is Poplar, where not only are you not allowed to fish but you are not allowed to TOUCH the water.

There are controlled deer hunts conducted by the goverment every year. Some years, there are no radiation detected. Some years, there are lots of deer found with radiation. Those deer are taken away.

They are working to get rid of the nuclear waste that is still in many of the government buildings. Of course, this poses even more hazards.

I like old houses, so Oak Ridge doen't really appeal to me. It was literally slapped together in 1942. However, there are some beautiful goverment buildings, schools and parks and Oak Ridge. The public schools are some of the best in the country.

Do know that Oak Ridge National Laboratory is still operational. It is integral in homeland security. During 9/11, I remember Katie Couric on NBC mentioning within an hour of the attacks that Oak Ridge had been secured.

Now, that can either make you feel good or bad. Do know that Oak Ridge surely must be on the top of the list of places that could be targets. Our enemies would love to blow up Oak Ridge. On the other hand, Oak Ridge surely has better security than most other locations across our country.

Take this information for what it is worth. I live due northeast of Oak Ridge. I am not very far from there. I live well north of the aquifer. However, if we were attacked, my family and me will surely be dust.
Thank you for all the information. Oak Ridge sound like a nice place to visit, but not live in. Can you suggest a area that would be nice to live. I dont want to live in the sticks, but I also do not want to live in a big city. My husband and I will still be working. He has three more years till he is 65, and I am retireing when I am 55 in 6 more years. I am a bean counter by trade so I probably wont have a hard time finding a job, he is in sales. Any thoughts on the subject would be much appreciated. Kim
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:03 AM
 
8,971 posts, read 20,847,507 times
Reputation: 5713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim Gallagher View Post
Thank you for all the information. Oak Ridge sound like a nice place to visit, but not live in. Can you suggest a area that would be nice to live. I dont want to live in the sticks, but I also do not want to live in a big city. My husband and I will still be working. He has three more years till he is 65, and I am retireing when I am 55 in 6 more years. I am a bean counter by trade so I probably wont have a hard time finding a job, he is in sales. Any thoughts on the subject would be much appreciated. Kim
That all depends on what kind of environment do you want. Do you want an area with good schools? What kind of housing do you want: land? a condo? on a lake? in the mountains? What's your price range? Do you want somewhere with a lot of shopping and entertainment possibilities? cultural amenities?

Since you were initially interested in Oak Ridge, does that mean you want to be in the Knoxville area? Or are there other areas of Tennessee you would be interested in?

There are a bunch of us on here who would love to help you! Just give us more info.
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Old 01-06-2007, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,625 posts, read 30,469,839 times
Reputation: 11684
Kim:

I think Oak Ridge is fine. I think the only people that may not like the area are those that want to hunt and fish in their own back yard.
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Farmland side of the mountain
2,699 posts, read 2,359,696 times
Reputation: 9099
Question Shopping in Oak Ridge

Like so many others, we, too, are hoping to retire in TN. First thoughts were to Maryville, now maybe Oak Ridge. Please describe shopping--malls, grocery, restuarants, etc. Thanks for your insight.
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,953 posts, read 16,777,660 times
Reputation: 30925
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
Kim:

I think Oak Ridge is fine. I think the only people that may not like the area are those that want to hunt and fish in their own back yard.
I will fish in Oak Ridge but I don't eat fish at all. I throw them back.

I just looked at my OR map. You come through Claxton when you come into Oak Ridge? I just read that Oak Ridge is trying to annex Claxton. Where does Raccoon Valley Road end heading East from Oak Ridge? My map doesn't go that far.

What's east of Clinton and north of West Knoxville? It's a huge white area on my map and the zip code matches Heiskell, a place I havent heard mentioned in this forum. I was wondering if that was because it is undeveloped land.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,625 posts, read 30,469,839 times
Reputation: 11684
Heiskell is Hiknapster land!
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,625 posts, read 30,469,839 times
Reputation: 11684
Raccoon Valley Road goes right through Heiskell. Heiskell consists of a general store, post office and fire department. I just noticed that most of that, minus the fire station, are up for sale!

http://public.kaarmls.com/property/v...309&at=Photos&
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:15 PM
 
571 posts, read 1,864,230 times
Reputation: 314
If I've got my bearings right, Edgemoor turns into Raccoon Valley and goes east to I-75. It's all Rt. 170.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,625 posts, read 30,469,839 times
Reputation: 11684
Yes! And then you get to visit HiKnapster!

Here's a map...

http://www.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&...2C%20Tennessee
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