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Councils okays $32 million in marina debt

Posted By Christine Anne Piesyk On Tuesday, December 2, 2008 @ 10:00 am In Business,News,Opinion | 3 Comments

In a special session Monday night, the City Council approved an amendment to the city’s capital project budget, giving the okay to $32 million in new debt and $39 million in re-structured debt for development of Mayor Johnny Piper’s proposed marina, water park and other Fairgrounds “development.” The debt package would extend loans through 2027.

[1]In fact, the “done deal” marina has spurred boats sales, or the illusion and suggestion of boat sales, including the collage of watercraft already on display in a Riverside Drive dealer’s lot and another boat display/storage area strategically poised on the concrete slab that once housed the Fairground Pavilion.

Councilors Wallace Redd, Marc Harris and Wayne Harrison opposed the amendment, with Harris lobbying for a 30-day stay on this vote, a move that would have allowed new city councilors a say in a development project that will, in January, fall under their purview. Not all the new councilors support the marina; the current council make-up was a guaranteed win for marina advocates.

What consideration has been given to traffic flow problems on access roads (state highways) to the new development have been elaborated on. Clarksville already has significant traffic flow issues including along Riverside Drive, and water park/marina development will magnify those issues as well for the people who live, work in or travel that area.

As the new council oversees future development of the marina and the Cumberland as a recreational waterway, it is hoped that among their concerns they will consider the overwhelming noise pollution generated by powerboats and jet skis — the latter can equal the output of a racetrack in one’s back yard. The amount of oil and gasoline residue that seeps from vehicles such as jet skis, particularly older models, is a serious pollutant on many waterways; newer models have adapted to stricter EPA standards. In many forward-thinking states these “toys” have been banned on small lakes and rivers because of the noise, noise pollution, and pollution issues, and earth-friendly reclaiming of rivers and streams — or at least, do no further harm — is the most important priority.

Given that the city for years has endured the stench of wastewater treatment permeating the downtown business and residential district, it would behoove the new council to address that that issue in tandem with any new downtown and riverfront development.

If the current administration is hellbent on this form of development, it is incumbent on the next City Council to be proactive in protecting the natural resources that run through Clarksville, and ensuring that within this development, there are ample protections for the water, the shoreline and the abutting homes and businesses (including new residential development). Or hope that the pollution just runs downstream…rendering it NIMB (Not In My Backyard).

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