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Residents to air concerns over “blight”

Clarksville, TN

The citizens of Clarksville continue to oppose an ordinance approved by the Clarksville City Council that declared most of the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods as “blighted.” This writer views “blighted” as the new buzz word for eminent domain.

The Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan, orchestrated by the Downtown District Partnership, has the potential to place over 1300 acres of land and over 1800 homes, churches, businesses, which may also include the Historic County Courthouse, in danger of seizure by the city for redevelopment.

Some believe that under this plan, developers could receive significant tax incentives for their participation in any projects developed as a result of the “blighted” designation.

A public forum and debate on eminent domain and how it relates to this controversial “Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan” will be held Friday, December 14, 2007 at 7 PM at the H.O.P.E. Resource Center, 120-A Legion Street in Clarksville.

Affected residents and business owners of these “blighted” areas are calling on the Clarksville City Council members to rescind their support and ask that the redevelopment plan ordinance and its wording be restructured to protect the people and their property rights.

Under state law, the city is only allowed to take property by emininent domain for infrastructure development, while the county can take land for any purpose. The use of a “blighted” declaration is specifically prohibited for the purpose of taking land for development to increase tax revenues.

I believe the current ordinance is too vague, giving city administrators a blank check to do as they please. In its present form, the plan seems to mask an attempt to leverage property for maximum potential tax revenues.

At the last public meeting on this issue, over 60 residents opposing this plan wore buttons saying No Blight Without A Fight. The debate on this issue will continue at this event.

Bring your questions, concerns, comments and complaints to this event, which is free and open to all concerned citizens. For more information, contact Terry McMoore at (931) 378-1999.



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