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Property Rights Coalition seeks equal time to air information at “blight” hearing

 

blight article headerThe Steering Committee of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition has requested that the CPRC, and the groups who are working with us, the Tennessee Preservation Trust and the Clarksville NAACP, be afforded the same opportunity as the Downtown District Partnership to make a presentation to the City Council at the June 10th Informational Meeting on the Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan.

That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Clement Auditorium as Austin Peay State University, which is the only downtown property not affected by the redevelopment plan’s “blight” designation.

In November, 2007, the City Council passed an ordinance declared two square miles of downtown Clarksville as “blighted” for purposes of redevelopment. Homeowners caught unaware by the ordinance and its implications in terms of eminent domain and “blight” form a quick and fast protest and have called for the rescinding of that ordinance.

The CPRC, the TPT, and the NAACP requested a minimum of 30 minutes to address the Council on June 10th, time to be allocated among our three organizations, or an equal amount of time as provided to the DDP (Downtown Development Partnership), if they are given more than 30 minutes.

blightsville-napa-002.jpgIn making the requests, the groups involved agreed with Mayor Piper that the public needs to hear the truth about the Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan but said the only way for the public and the City Council to learn the truth about the impact of this Redevelopment Plan on the citizens who live or own property in the Plan boundaries is to hear presentations from both sides of the issues, not just one side. The majority of City Council members and City leaders did not attend public meetings on this issue at either the Hope Center (Dec. 14) and the Train Station (Dec. 17).

This Plan has legally declared as “blighted” over 1,800 parcels of property including all of downtown Clarksville and its adjacent neighborhoods” said John Summers, spokesperson for the CPRC.

“It also contains the power to condemn peoples’ homes and businesses for private development, not just for public purposes. For the public to hear the truth about the Redevelopment Plan, both sides of the issue must be presented. To date, only one side of the issue has been presented to the City Council, the one held by the Downtown District Partnership.” — John Summers

“The DDP initiated the Re-development Plan. Their membership disproportionally includes Clarksville’s development interests,” continued Summers.

Summers said:

“This meeting was announced in a January 3rd news release by the Mayor’s Office which included the statement that ‘several details of the plan have been misrepresented’ in it. We fully agree that the details and impact of the Redevelopment Plan have either been misrepresented or not fully disclosed to the Public, but by the proponents of the Plan, not by the opponents.

“That is why the Steering Committee believes that a basic sense of fairness to the citizens of Clarksville impacted by this Plan requires that both sides of the issue be fully and equally presented.”

To date, only the DDP has been afforded to opportunity to make a presentation to the City Council on the Redevelopment Plan. In a basic sense of fairness to the citizens of Clarksville, the CPRC with the TPT and the Clarksville NAACP should be afforded the same opportunity at the June 10th informational meeting, John Summers said, in making his request.

“In summary, the CPRC is asking that both the proponents and the opponents to the Plan each be given at least 30 minutes on Thursday to present to the City Council their side of this issue. These presentations will enable the public to have a more balanced view of the issue which will allow them to ask any questions from a more informed perspective.

“I have been asked by the Steering Committee of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition to serve as their spokesperson. The CPRC is an organization of residents and property owners many of which own property in the Redevelopment Plan boundaries and are directly impacted by the Plan.”

— John Summers

Summers asked for a response from Mayor Piper by noon on Wednesday to allow reasonable preparation time prior to the Thursday hearing at APSU.


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