Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan has received notification that the Army Corps of Engineers has approved the lease agreement between the City of Clarksville and Cumberland River, LLC. The lease was approved by the city council at a special called session earlier this week.
“Corps approval is a critical step in moving forward with development”, explained Mayor McMillan. “Once the City Council approved the agreement on Tuesday night, we immediately moved forward to sign and forward it to the Corps for review. To receive approval within 48 hours is a direct result of our hard work and commitment to completing this project.”
There was much debate at Tuesday’s called session of the city council over the lease. Some council members objected to having to vote so soon after receiving the final lease agreement from city hall. Councilwoman Kaye Jones and councilman Bill Summers were the most vocal.
Summers said he was not comfortable voting on the lease agreement approving a multi-million dollar project without having thoroughly gone through both the marina lease and the restaurant lease. In a posting on her Facebook page, councilwoman Jones said, “I was extremely disappointed that after agreeing verbally that we would discuss the highlights of these contracts, and stay “as long as we need to”, per Mayor McMillan, that we were blindsided by the ceasing of discussion while the city attorney was still going through the first contract. I learned a valuable lesson, verbal agreements, even made be the mayor, are worthless! I had less than 24 hours to read 268 pages of documents” according to Jones.
When asked about those objections by Jones, Mayor McMillan’s office pointed out that the 268 page document had roughly 200 pages of standard Corps of Engineers protocol that could not, and would not be changed, so the particulars of the lease agreement should have been clearly understood by the council. The mayor’s office also told Clarksville Online that council persons were kept up to date with the progress of the lease negotiations as they developed.
Ward 1 councilman Nick Steward’s call for question also took some criticism from fellow council members, who were surprised at the move. Steward indicated that the discussion was going nowhere, and a call for question was the only way to move the meeting forward to a vote.
The approval of the Corps of Engineers is a pivotal point in the eventual opening of Liberty Park, and the Marina. The project has been plagued by weather delays, financial problems of some contractors, and the loss of the original Marina operator, Greg Batts. Completing the project has been a priority of Mayor McMillan since she took office.