Performing arts center a key to revitalizing downtown Clarksville, Tenn., mayor says

Clarksville, Tenn.
A view of downtown Clarksville, Tenn., on Nov. 9, 2012. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The mayor of Clarksville, Tenn., says a new performing arts center in downtown will help spur economic growth and bring new jobs to the area.

“The central feature of my downtown redevelopment strategy is business development that brings more jobs and a Performing Arts and Conference Center,” Mayor Kim McMillan said in her State of the City address last month, according to a transcript. “Downtown needs this new feature that provides an economic engine — a center that consistently brings people downtown for entertainment events, and gets them to visit restaurants and shops, which supply jobs and economic activity.”

Added McMillan: “We will know how it will be paid for — with a mix of city-backed bond debt and private funds. We will know and how it will be programmed, how it will be managed and what it will take to make it a success. I believe that’s what taxpayers want and deserve before we spend millions of tax dollars.”

Clarksville, which sits on the Tennessee-Kentucky line, is Tennessee’s fifth-largest city and is best known as the home of Fort Campbell, Ky. The downtown area is home to several attractions, most notably the Customs House Museum.

The city for years has studied how to revitalize the downtown area. McMillan said the center “has been extensively studied and planned,” which is why the city is commissioning the “fifth and final phase” of planning.

“Our study shows the center we propose will bring people downtown more than 200 times a year, for theatrical performances, family oriented shows and music concerts,” McMillan said. “It will also provide much-needed community spaces for meetings and gatherings, such as proms and reunions.”

Added McMillan: “This is the right vision for downtown. Something that provides activity, commerce and sustained, repeat visits. Reliable, professional research backs up these conclusions. The Performing Arts and Conference Center I’ve proposed is the right feature to add to jump start revival of jobs, commerce and residential growth downtown.”

The downtown area was hit by a tornado on Jan. 22, 1999.


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