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Who’s minding the store? Citizen demands oversight, not “a blind eye”

blight article header

This letter was written prior to the cancellation of the DDP redevelopment meeting. However, it’s message is one that deserves an airing, so Clarksville Online has opted to run it with the caveat that, for now, the controversial blight ordinance is on hold.

The Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan (CCRP) was approved recently by the City Council. On Thursday, January 10, 6:00PM, at Austin Peay State University’s Clement Auditorium, a meeting is scheduled at which the DDP (Downtown Business Partnership) and City officials will answer questions about the Plan.

The Plan is being challenged by concerned residents of Clarksville’s historic districts and downtown areas, the Tennessee State Historic Commission, the Tennessee Preservation Trust, and others because it contains unclear language. The document uses the term “Blighted” in describing the entire Clarksville downtown area, (with the exception of property owned by APSU), which allows for homes to be taken via eminent domain by private developers. Public meetings prior to the approval of the document were limited. No letters were sent; many in the Plan area were not even aware such a document existed prior to the Council vote this past September.

co-city.JPGMayor Piper stated “This is their (the DDP’s) plan. It is not the City Council’s plan.” The city sponsored the DDP through the development and approval of this document, and as mayor he is ultimately responsible for ensuring the property rights of Clarksville residents. Mayor Piper noted “Six (members of City Council) and myself were not around” when this document was developed. They were, however, present when the council voted in favor of the document. With that kind of thinking is this, and who is in charge? Who protects us and our property rights?

co-depot-singing-petition.JPGThink this will not affect you? Think again. This is only Phase I; there are Five Phases planned. If you own property in Clarksville, it can be condemned, razed and new construction erected, which will only benefit developers. (Photo at right: concerned citizens at the Dec. 17 Property Rights Coalition meeting)

Please attend the meeting and be educated on this issue. If you cannot attend, please contact your city council-member and voice your concern.

Editor’s Note: In submitting this letter to Clarksville Online, Shirley wrote: “The Leaf Chronicle doesn’t seem to want to print this Letter to the Editor….wonder why? Would it be possible to have you place it on Clarksville Online?”
Shirley Berardohttp://
Shirley Berardo retired from IBM after 23 years, 20 of which were spent in people, program, product, and process management. A highlight of her career was working with an IBM Fellow who invented the Touch Technology for mobile software and hardware. Shirley’s developed the business case and successfully brought the product to market. Shirley studied at Texas Western University, The George Washington University, Princeton University, IBM Systems Science Institute, numerous IBM Management Courses – Seminars – Conferences, and the Corcoran School of Art. She has been a vocalist of classical and popular music, a commissioned artist, and in 2002 wrote “In My Heart”, a story of care-giving, death, and grief. She has published numerous family and life experience essays. Shirley served as President of the Prince William County Cultural Arts Federation and Executive Director of the Gig Harbor Key Peninsula Cultural Arts Commission. She also served as the Clarksville Montgomery County Arts & Heritage Development Council Executive Director from 2004-2007. Traveling with husband Anthony is her favorite retirement past-time now. When home, she enjoys volunteering with non-profit organizations, providing advice and counsel on grant opportunities and program development..

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