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ETEC: Redefining the Vision for Downtown Oak Ridge
January 17 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Oak Ridge was born without a specific downtown, for good reasons 75 years ago. Today, a recognizable downtown creates the foundation for recruiting a qualified, stable, engaged workforce. A more urban setting can attract development types that aren’t interested in a suburban model. Plus having a community gathering space adds to the quality of life and encourages Oak Ridge workers to become Oak Ridge residents. Mayor Pro Tem Rick Chinn, City Manager Mark Watson, and Community Development Director Wayne Blasius, will present the vision for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to define Oak Ridge’s downtown in a way that honors our past and enables an equally extraordinary future.
City of Oak Ridge
Community Development Director
Wayne grew up in the Chicago suburbs before adopting Knoxville as his home in 1977 then migrating to Oak Ridge in 2019. Prior to his appointment as Community Development Director for the City of Oak Ridge in September 2017, he led the East Tennessee Community Design Center from 2014-17; an organization he had served as a volunteer on and off over three decades. He had previously founded InSite Development Corporation in 2001, a real estate development/ management firm that completed major downtown Knoxville historic rehabs such as the Phoenix and Mast General Store/Gallery Lofts. InSite also provided consulting services for Oak Ridge National Lab. Earlier in his career, Blasius served as a supervising planner at MPC and Deputy Community Development Director for the City of Knoxville. In 1996, he left the City to join Denark Construction as Vice President/Business Development. Blasius earned a bachelor’s degree in economics (with an emphasis in environmental studies) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and a master of science in urban planning from UT-Knoxville. He received his Tennessee Real Estate license in 2007.
Community involvement is a strongly-held value for him. His history includes board chairmanships at the Knoxville Central Business Improvement District, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, and Good Shepherd Counseling Center; board memberships with Leadership Knoxville (including serving as chair of the Introduction Knoxville program committee), Knox Heritage, Nine Counties One Vision Downtown Plan Task Force, Knoxville Chamber Executive Committee, Pellissippi State Technical College President’s Associates, Knox Housing Partnership Board; and as Dogwood Arts Festival 1987 Parade Co-chair. Blasius has held memberships with the American Planning Association, Tennessee-American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, and the American Institute of Certified Planners.
In January 2019, Blasius was honored to join the board of the Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFACE), founded in 2017 by Pat Postma. He is completing the restoration of a 1920s craftsman bungalow in Old North Knoxville and recently purchased a mid-century modern home on W. Outer Drive in Oak Ridge.
He raised four children in Knoxville and welcomed his first two granddaughters in 2017 & 2018!