Clarksville has chance to attract lucrative State Soccer Park
Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville City Council faces a key final vote Thursday on purchase of 409 acres near Interstate 24 Exit 8 for construction of a multi-sport Clarksville Family Athletic Complex.
The Athletic Complex would be built in phases and serve the outdoor recreation needs of Clarksville’s growing population and add facilities to attract sports tourism-related economic development.
“Adding these top-notch athletic facilities has been a goal of mine since taking office,” Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan said.
“The purchase of this tract of land will allow us to begin design and construction of these much-needed recreation assets. This will provide Clarksville with the modern sports venues we need for our families and youth leagues, and the additional sports tourism-related revenues will help pay for the facilities we desperately need,” McMillan stated.
Mayor McMillan has received proposals from two established sports groups interested in pursuing public-private partnerships at the Athletic Complex.
The Tennessee State Soccer Association, the governing body for youth and amateur soccer in the state, has proposed partnering with the City on a major soccer park that would serve local youth leagues and become the association’s tournament center and state headquarters.
TSSA is offering to lease, manage, maintain and coordinate play on 16 new soccer fields — six of them with all-weather synthetic turf. The $30 million soccer park would be built on about 65 of the Athletic Complex’s 409 acres, and include offices and an indoor training facility.
Clarksville’s burgeoning youth soccer organizations would use the fields during the week and on designated weekends for practices and games, and TSSA would program major tournaments on most weekends.
These events would produce increased sales and hotel tax revenues from the hundreds of teams and families who would visit Clarksville from throughout Tennessee, the Southeast and the Midwest. The association’s “letter of interest” to the City of Clarksville notes that other Middle Tennessee cities are competing to secure the lucrative TSSA partnership.
National Sports Services has proposed locating a Prospect League summer collegiate baseball franchise in Clarksville to play in a new stadium it would lease at the Athletic Complex. The team, comprised of NCAA-eligible college all-stars who are professional prospects, would play a 60-game season, with 30 home games in Clarksville, featuring high-quality competitive baseball in a family-friendly stadium environment.
The stadium, which would seat at least 3,500 and cost about $10 million, would anchor a baseball and softball facility that would be used by Clarksville youth teams, and also would attract events and tournaments with teams from throughout the state and region.
By investing in a large 409-acre site for Clarksville’s future, accommodations for ice hockey, tennis and field sports such as football, rugby and lacrosse could be added as the complex grows along with the community.
Last June, the City Council approved Mayor McMillan’s recommendation to include $6.5 million in this year’s budget to purchase the Clarksville Family Athletic Complex site. Last week, after hearing statements of support for the project from state and local soccer leaders, the Council voted 6-5 on first reading to approve the purchase contracts negotiated with the land owners.
City code requires a second vote for final approval, which is scheduled for the Council’s Regular Session at 7:00pm Thursday in the Clarksville City Council Chambers, 106 Public Square.