CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A plan for a $50-million mixed-use development has been unveiled after commissioners approved funding for a multi-platform event center in Clarksville.
The Clarksville Montgomery County Economic Development Council said a Nashville real estate development company will be partnering with the Hand family to bring the plans to life.
"My family and I are honored to be a part of this project in our hometown. This will play a supporting role to the MPEC and will not only improve the landscape of downtown by providing a fresh lodging option, retail and dining opportunities, but most importantly it will create much needed new retail jobs, new opportunities for small business and regional economic growth in the downtown market," said Charles Hand.
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett both support the project, which potentially could bring an annual local sales tax revenue of $500,000.
"The potential Riverview project is a testament to the promising future of downtown Clarksville," said Durrett, "With the right planning and continued investment from business owners, the private sector will be even more inspired to improve and develop in the heart of our community."
Plans include transforming the Riverview Inn into a 145-room upscale hotel, building a market place of retail and restaurants centered around an outdoor green-space, and a proposed 700-space parking garage.
Melissa Marquais is part of a group who created a petition as they believe the funding surrounding the multi-platform event center should be put on the ballot.
"Basically they can tax anything they want to at any rate they want to as long as that debt is paid back monthly. It doesn't matter where the money comes from, and the poor constituents have no say. It's their money, and it's basically getting taken from them whether they like it or not," Marquais said, "I think a lot of people are on board with the idea of an event center, but the way that it's being proposed for the citizens to be on the hook to pay for it with tax money, is probably everybody's biggest concern."
Durrett said the benefit outweighs the cost.
"For me, it's all about opportunity," Durrett said, "Because it's going to generate sales tax dollars. One half of that goes to our schools."
Marquais is skeptical.
"I'll believe it when I see it. Most the arenas that aren't privately funded are running in the red," Marquais said.
As officials move ahead with the plans, a group is racing to gain signatures so that the decision will be up to voters. Petition information is here.
(Article Courtesy: Alexandra Koehn via: NewsChannel 5 Nashville)