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City Council to vote on establishing a Sports Authority, the Multi-Purpose Events Center

Clarksville City GovernmentTuesday, at 4:30pm the Clarksville City Council is holding a special session to discuss the 2006 budget, but more importantly to consider a resolution to create a sports authority. I currently lean away from supporting the plan to establish a Sports Authority and a Multi-Purpose Events Center (MPEC). In my opinion Clarksville has not yet demonstrated that there is a significant need or demand for such an extensive facility.

The public must have faith the numbers they have been throwing around in support of this plan, have a foundation in reality. We all know that 99% of all statistics are made up. So I would like to see estimates from at least 3 independent consulting companies none of which may be associated with the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council nor Global Entertainment before we vote to proceed, so far we have one.

A private for profit company, Global Entertainment contacted the city about the city building the events center, then contracting with and paying them to operate it for the city. Leaving Global Entertainment with none of the expenses or risks, but giving them all of the benefits that come from running the facility.

The contract for the operation of the center should be put out for competitive bidding, with the understanding that the facility is a non-profit public interest venture and the management company will have no inherent veto: over pricing, booking, and access to the facility.

We need to ensure that the MPEC and the retail facility will not become a financial black hole for the tax payers of our community. There must be iron clad guarantees, that the operation of either will not result in increasing either the sales tax or property taxes.

We need to have declared in the Sports Authority charter, that the MPEC and the public areas of the surrounding retail shopping area are considered a public forum. There shall be no attempts to deny private groups or the general public access, or deny them their free speech rights, on the basis that this is private property.

This facility would need to be operated in a non-discriminatory manner. It should not matter if Clarksville Pride, or the Tennessee Baptist convention wishes to use the facility, both should be given equal consideration. However, local uses of the facility should be given priority over non-local ones.

We must also be assured that this facility will be equally available for the poor as it will be for the rich and powerful. There must be provisions for waving any of the required fees for those local groups which can not pay, but who can demonstrate a legitimate need for the use of this public facility.

Resolve these issues, and you resolve my disagreement with this authority and the Multi-Purpose Events Center.

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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