Jimmie M. Garland, President, NAACP #5582, responds to correspondence from HUD regarding the Downtown Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan. Mr. Garland directed numerous questions about the plan to both HUD and the Justice Department in May.
In response to correspondence received from the Nashville, Tennessee Office of Housing and Urban Development dated May 20, 2008, the Clarksville Tennessee Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) would like to thank the Nashville HUD office for its prompt response.
Although several of our concerns were addressed in their response, we feel there is still serious discord between the intent of the Ordinance as approved by the City Council and the understanding the residents have concerning the impact the redevelopment plan will have on their communities.
It is factual that Section 13 of the Tennessee Code Annotated clearly states that certain and deliberate steps must be taken to establish a redevelopment district. In developing the local development plan, the Clarksville City Council has apparently ignored the code, cherry picking areas that meet their objectives. It is troubling to know that the redevelopment plan, as written, does not meet all the objectives of the City of Clarksville five-year consolidated plan.Future funding for low to moderate-income residents in Clarksville could be in jeopardy, due to the administrations refusal to abide by the laws established by the state. This insipid approach taken by the city council could affect future state and federal funding.The TCA states “The housing authority is the only entity that can declare property blighted.” This declaration can only be done through a Housing Authority plan, which has to be adopted by the city and county elected officials. The plan has to:
- specifically identify the area;
- define why its blighted;
- specify what measures the governmental body will impose to eliminate the blight and
- declare both how much it will cost and how long it will take to correct the blighted conditions.
The most important part of the plan is to define how it will benefit low to moderate-income persons. The city of Clarksville Redevelopment Plan does not address these elements as specified in section 13, TCA.
The Clarksville Branch of the NAACP is simply asking that TCA be followed. The resolution passed by the city council lacks the quality and detail specified in the code. The city council members who voted in favor of this flawed resolution sadden us. The obvious attempt by the elective body of the city government, minus three, to compel the citizens of the redevelopment area to adhere to their will is repressive and lacks moral ethics. The unity in their show of force should alert citizens of Clarksville to what type of people we have elected to serve our interest.
It is clear, that this issue will most likely not be resolved without the state and federal legislative bodies withholding state and federal funds from the city. Our first choice in resolving this matter would be to have a joint resolution, agreed to by residents of the impacted communities and city government. Reluctantly, this will be our goal until this flawed resolution is either withdrawn or resolved. We feel even these actions will not be enough to get the city legislative body’s attention, since they are so adamant about implementing this non-existent plan.
The Clarksville Branch of the NAACP will continue to address this flawed resolution until all of the residents in the redevelopment area voices are heard and their concerns properly addressed.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.