Clarksville votes on first reading for athletic complex land - WSMV News 4

Clarksville council votes on first reading for athletic complex land purchase

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Clarksville City Council voted Thursday on first reading to purchase land for a sports complex. (WSMV) Clarksville City Council voted Thursday on first reading to purchase land for a sports complex. (WSMV)

The Clarksville City Council approved on first reading a plan to purchase land off Rossview Road near Interstate 24 for use as an athletic complex.

The council voted in favor of Mayor Kim McMillan’s proposal 8-5 after voting down a similar ordinance two weeks ago. A special called meeting will be held on Friday at 4:30 p.m. for second and final reading of the ordinance.

"I feel positive this time, cautiously optimistic," said Marshall Duncan of the Clarksville Soccer Club. "I don't think the mayor would bring this back up if they didn't think they could get it passed."

Duncan said the area off I-24's Exit 8 is perfect for the families he serves.

A Clarksville city council meeting two weeks ago rejected a plan to buy 400 acres for a new sports complex.

"I felt that the current athletic complex didn't really cater to all the needs of Clarksville," said Clarksville councilman Richard Garrett. "I want something that's a win-win for our community."

Garrett is one of seven council members who voted against the land buy two weeks ago. He said for the price, he wanted a complex that catered to more than baseball and soccer.

"I'm just making sure that this, with it being an athletic complex, that we're using taxpayer dollars to accommodate all different sports and demographics that our community serves," Garrett said. "Clarksville is a melting pot of many backgrounds and many interests we serve. There are a number of sports that are without a home."

McMillan has a new ordinance cutting down the amount of land by 100 acres, bringing the price down from $6 million to $4 million. McMillan said her plan is for sports tourism to pay the costs through hotel taxes and additional sales taxes. A rep for the city said the other acres would be for commercial businesses like hotels and restaurants.

Carrying over from the previous plan is a Tennessee State Soccer Association state soccer park and a baseball stadium complex meant to bring in a Prospect League summer collegiate team.

Many pushing for the complex consider the TSSA's involvement important, with a deal where the association will act as tenant and schedule tournaments.

"I'd be open to compromising, yes," said Garrett. "I'm not unreasonable at all, and I know there has to be some give and take. I applaud the mayor in some areas. She made some concessions, not going for as much land as before, and the price tag has dropped."

Garrett said he also wants to see a new facility catering to other sports on Tiny Town Road.

"Let's take $600,000 and buy 15 acres on Tiny Town within city limits to build a regional community center," he said. "I have the data to support it, the studies to support it. North Clarksville is in desperate need of a community center."

A rep for the city of Clarksville said that idea is on the table and being evaluated.

"The current facility, Heritage Park, was built in 1994 to accommodate half the number of soccer players we have in Montgomery County now," said Duncan. "We need to address youth sports and recreational facilities all over the city."

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