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Roane County, TN – The K-25 Overlook & Visitor Center will open back up this week to the public after a months-long expansion and remodel. It will be open regularly during daylight hours.
A grand re-opening celebration has been set for Monday, May 6 from 4 – 6 pm to kick off National Tourism Week. The event will be hosted by Bionomics, Designsensory and the Roane Alliance.
“What better way to kick off National Tourism Week,” said Sam Jones Ledford, Roane Alliance Communications & Marketing Manager. “There has been so much anticipation and excitement to getting the overlook back open and we can’t wait to show the community what we’ve been up to.”
“And we are going to have food trucks with ice cream, waffles, bbq; live music; interactive displays and more so we hope residents and visitors will come out and join in the fun,” added Ledford.
When John and Karen McCormick, Bionomics, purchased the property where the overlook is located, they chose to not only keep the overlook open to the public, but update the interior that also included an expansion. The overlook was closed for renovations in late 2018 and is now nearly triple its original size. The space will continue to provide information about the Manhattan Project, as well as locations to visit that is part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. And now, it also provides a glimpse of life in Happy Valley that once housed more than 15,000 Manhattan Project workers (and where the overlook now sits) and a large recreation map that provides details about what can be enjoyed in the area.
“The space is wonderful and offers great information on both the area’s history and recreational opportunities,” said Superintendent Niki Nicholas, National Park Service, “it is now part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park experience.”
Renovations were a labor of love for many that recognized the importance of the overlook as not only a hub for the rest of the park but also as a recreational hub. McCormick partnered with the Roane Alliance and Designsensory to create a space that residents and visitors could enjoy, whether they were interested in history or the outdoors.
Other partners include Roane County Government, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, City of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Parks and Recreation, National Park Service, Department of Energy, Goodpoint/User Friendly Maps, K-25 Historian Steve Goodpasture and Oak Ridge Historian Ray Smith.
“I am so proud of the new overlook – the space truly is amazing,” said Pam May, President/CEO, the Roane Alliance, “and all because of the generosity of John and Karen McCormick and our friends at Designsensory. Without their shared love and vision for Roane County, the space would have just gotten a face lift but now it’s a beautiful space for anyone to enjoy and learn about recreation and the national park.”
Future plans include adding walking and biking trails where visitors can see more of the Happy Valley property that still includes landmarks and items left behind from the early 1950’s. There are some opportunities for others to donate and get involved so if you are interested in providing support please contact Sam Ledford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-376-2093 x 209.
The Roane County Visitors Bureau, a partner of the Roane Alliance, works to attract travelers who seek unique heritage and the best outdoor recreational experiences. The Roane Alliance is the comprehensive resource in anything and everything concerning businesses, tourism and economic development in Roane County, which includes the Industrial Development Board, Visitors Bureau and Chamber, and programs such as Education Matters and Retire Roane. Our mission is to create an environment and a unified voice that promotes job creation, economic development, enhanced quality of life, education and workforce. To learn more about the Visitors Bureau or the Roane Alliance please call 865.376.2093 or visit www.visitroane.com or roanealliance.org.