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Mayors Power Breakfast, Friendship, Communication are Keys to Progress

 

City of Clarksville

City of Clarksville - Clarksville, TNClarksville, TN – The annual Mayors Power Breakfast, traditionally a New Year look at the state of local government, this year featured a new city mayor, a new format and a powerful new vibe of communication and cooperation between the City of Clarksville and Montgomery County Government.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, left, and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, right, took the stage Tuesday morning at the annual Clarksville Area Chamber's Mayors Power Breakfast to brief the community on the state of local government. Chamber President Jay Albertia, center, moderated the question and answer session.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, left, and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, right, took the stage Tuesday morning at the annual Clarksville Area Chamber’s Mayors Power Breakfast to brief the community on the state of local government. Chamber President Jay Albertia, center, moderated the question and answer session.

Joe Pitts, the new Mayor of Clarksville, said his first 15 days in office had been a whirlwind of activity, as he worked to get acquainted with the city’s departments, staff and key issues and projects.

Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett joined Pitts on stage Tuesday along with Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce President Jay Albertia, who served as host. This year’s format featured short speeches by the mayors followed by 30 minutes of audience questions and mayoral responses moderated by Albertia.

Evident in both speeches, and in several of their responses to questions, was a clear mood of friendship between Pitts and Durrett and repeated testimonials of their willingness to communicate and collaborate on the shared goal of moving the community forward.

“First of all, we’ve gotta be in the same room,” Pitts said, directly answering a question about cooperation. “Jim and I like each other, and we’ve pledged to meet regularly and work together.”

Durrett agreed, offering a simple, but apt analogy.

“I think it’s a lot like a marriage,” he said. “We have to communicate. I feel great that Joe is someone I’ve known for a long time, and we can talk. We’ve set up a standing meeting every two weeks. I think it’s going to be awesome.”

Audience questions explored several topics, including the community’s diversity, affordable housing, improving commercial districts along Fort Campbell Boulevard, and increasing resources devoted to public safety. But much of the discussion centered on downtown redevelopment and ways to continue momentum built in the last three years.

Durrett pointed to Downtown Commons, a new park space built by the county, and a list of new restaurants, as signs of progress. He also said he expected to make an announcement about a proposed county-built multi-purpose events center downtown in the first quarter of 2019.

Pitts said he was pursuing a new strategy for protecting and maintaining the downtown Roxy Regional Theatre and hoped to announce details soon.

“We’re committed to downtown,” Pitts said. “Without it we’re just four exits off the interstate.”

He also said the city wants to move forward with revitalizing the area along College Street, from Kraft Street to the Austin Peay State University campus, which includes Frosty Morn, a dilapidated former meat packing plant, and the Vulcan industrial site, which recently shuttered.

“This area is important as the gateway to APSU and downtown,” Pitts said. “We’re going to do something to reclaim Frosty Morn, and we have plenty of ideas about Vulcan, which could be redeveloped as a soccer complex, for example. We want to get something done with that part of town.”

More Online

Watch the Power Breakfast presentation and view photos on the city’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofclarksvilletn

Read Mayor Pitts’ prepared remarks at https://bit.ly/2SUNSkc


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