City of Clarksville
Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville City Council voted 8-4 Friday, giving final approval of the purchase of 300 acres of land off Rossview Road near Interstate 24 Exit 8 for use as the Clarksville Family Athletic Complex.
Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan said the 300-acre purchase would accommodate a proposed Tennessee State Soccer Association state soccer park and a baseball stadium complex to attract a Prospect League summer collegiate baseball team, both of which are key components of the plan to develop the Athletic Complex using increased sports tourism-related revenues.
The complex would also provide much-needed new outdoor recreational facilities for use by Clarksville families, youth leagues and teams.
The TSSA facility is considered an especially lucrative element of the deal, because of the association’s ability to schedule tournaments that would draw thousands of teams and families to Clarksville for overnight stays and related tourism spending. The baseball stadium complex, which would include additional baseball and softball fields, would also be used by local teams and attract regional tournaments and events.
The vote was a comeback victory for Mayor McMillan, who has been working on adding a major new athletic complex for several years. Earlier this month the Council voted 7-6 against purchasing a larger 409-acre tract for the complex. But Mayor McMillan announced she would continue efforts to win approval of her Clarksville Family Athletic Complex project, and crafted a new land purchase ordinance for the Council to consider.
“I’m so pleased we have acquired this land to build modern sports facilities for Clarksville’s families and youth,” Mayor McMillan said after the vote. “This is a good plan that allows us to add much-needed sports fields and facilities for our kids, while capturing the sports tourism economic development that will help us pay for it.”
The new ordinance approved Friday reduces the amount of land the City would buy by about 100 acres, leaving those parcels in private ownership for eventual commercial development.
The ordinance was first considered by the City Council’s Finance Committee on Thursday, which gave its approval with a 5-0 vote. Immediately after the finance panel’s meeting, the City Council, in a special called meeting, approved the ordinance 8-5 on first reading.
On Thursday, the Council also approved 7-6 a resolution introduced by Councilman Jeff Burkhart stating: “… it is the sense of the Council to invest equally, to the highest extent practicable, in the both the construction of an athletic complex and roads and infrastructure throughout the City of Clarksville.”
The roughly 300-acre tract approved Friday would not exceed $4,083,000, plus reasonable acquisition costs and fees. The purchase price of the larger 409-acre tract considered May 3 was about $6 million.
The new proposal reduces the size of the City-owned athletic complex and reduces the purchase price by nearly $2 million, while preserving the economic development potential of the plan in which increased sports tourism-related tax revenues would offset costs of building the athletic complex.
On Friday, Mayor McMillan said the next step after Council approval of the ordinance will be to close on the property, a legal process which usually takes at least 30 days.
With the land purchase in place, the City will continue to negotiate toward formal contractual agreements with the Tennessee State Soccer Association and National Sports Services, the marketing and development firm representing the Prospect League.
Lose has extensive experience in design-to-construction services on community recreation projects throughout the Southeast. As project lead, Lose & Associates likely will use a subcontractor to complete an economic impact and market analysis study.
The economic and market study will consider the needs of the project partners — TSSA and Prospect League, for example — and the City’s vision for the complex, and then define the features the Athletic Complex will need to succeed. This study also will determine the expected actual operating revenues and expenses of the complex, and projections of the increased tax revenues the City can expect the complex to generate.
The results of the economic and market study will inform two important next steps:
- Preliminary design and engineering work that will determine the layout of the site.
- Decisions about the structure of the project funding plan. Several options are possible, such as creating a special district, or creating a Sports Complex Authority, and the study will determine the best financial model for issuing bonds and funding the project.
The City is scheduling meetings with the Regional Planning Director to begin the annexation process, which ideally would be coordinated with concurrent requests from the City and adjacent commercial property owners.
Mayor McMillan said she has kept the potential partners informed about her plans to move the project forward with a new land purchase ordinance. They have continued to express interest in Clarksville, and have signaled excitement about the City Council’s approval of the land purchase.