Clarksville mayor still pushing for new sports complex plan - WSMV News 4

Clarksville mayor still pushing for new sports complex plan, location

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Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan still wants to build a sports complex for the city. (WSMV) Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan still wants to build a sports complex for the city. (WSMV)
Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan (WSMV) Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan (WSMV)

The Clarksville mayor says there's still life in her plan for a new sports complex.

Last week, the City Council voted against buying land, saying it was too expensive. Now, the mayor's hoping the land buy will be up for a vote again soon.

Last Thursday night, children and parents chanted outside the city council, hoping for a vote approving a land buy for the new sports complex. That's not how it went.

"They would've voted 'yes' and didn't understand why it didn't pass," said Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. "I hear their disappointment because I share in that disappointment. This plan was a win-win for our community and for the visitors that wanted to access our community, so I am doubly disappointed that the council couldn't see that or wasn't willing to come forward and move forward with this project."

McMillan said a new sports complex has been a priority since she took office, with demand for competitive sports going far beyond what Heritage Park can handle.

With road improvements taken already off Interstate 24’s Exit 8, McMillan wants the new complex there. The plan was for the Tennessee State Soccer Association to keep the place booked and maintained. McMillan said her plan was for sports tourism to pay the costs through hotel taxes and additional sales taxes.

"That takes the pressure off the local taxpayers," she said. "I have an obligation as the mayor to do everything I can to explore ways to make these things happen that don't overtax our citizens and makes use of the burgeoning sports tourism that we know is happening all across our state."

Seven council members voted down buying the 409 acres including Jeff Burkhart.

"We just wouldn't be very good stewards of the public's money," he explained, saying the project wouldn't benefit enough of Clarksville's population. "If you spend $100 million, you've got to hit 95 to 100 percent of the taxpayers. It just got further, bigger than it needed to get. I'm all open for a $10 million, $15 million or $20 million project, but we've got too many needs to spend it all there."

A rep for the city of Clarksville argued that $100 million would be spent over two decades.

Despite the vote, McMillan said she's still pushing for TSSA involvement, her plan to pay costs and the location. She said other changes will be made to reach an agreement with the council.

"Going to another site, we don't have all of those benefits," McMillan said. "We would lose the ability to have those partners pay for this type of facility. I'm not giving up. I'm not quitting on the people of Clarksville. I'm going to keep talking to the land owners. I'm going to keep talking to our partners. I'm going to keep talking to everyone involved in this to see if there's a plan forward on this particular site. I'm not quitting. For the good of Clarksville, it's necessary. I am not going to stop looking for ways to make sure we do everything we can to give them the opportunity to have this once-in-a-lifetime facility."

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