Montgomery Co. Mayor Receives Backlash For Building Proposal

Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 16, 2017

A Montgomery County mayor's proposal to build a multi-purpose complex in downtown Clarksville came as a shock to city officials.

County mayor Jim Durrett said that his office began working with consultants more than 18 months ago in efforts to uncover options for growth in the area as well as began having preliminary conversations with community stakeholders.

Durrett is in talks with Nashville Predators and Austin Peay State University.

"I think our consultants said it needs to be downtown because after doing their research and bringing potential partners into play, they say we need a Division One University. Austin P is that, so it needs to be close to the campus, Durrett said.

In a release on Thursday, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan called the proposal 'shocking' and 'unwise.'

"It’s shocking that Montgomery County government would secretly study a new sports arena for Downtown Clarksville for 18 months without engaging the City of Clarksville and the entire community. The City owns and controls the streets, and infrastructure such as gas, water, sewer and electric power systems," she said.

Some see the proposal as a continuing breakdown in the relationship between city and county leaders.

Clarksville and Montgomery County do not govern as one body like Nashville and Davidson County. McMillan said for 5 years she's pushed for a performing arts center and sports complex which could have economical benefits for all residents.

“The Performing Arts and Conference Center plan and the Athletic Complex at Exit 8, which also includes a potential ice rink and involvement by the Nashville Predators, are City-funded projects that are well thought out and ready to go,” McMillan said.

“Meanwhile, Montgomery County government is struggling to find money to pay for much-needed school construction,” Mayor McMillan added. “Taxpayers must question whether it’s wise for the county to embark on a potentially expensive plan to provide municipal amenities without even seeking the involvement of the City of Clarksville.”

But Durrett said the proposal is only in early stages.

"This is the very first step process and there's lots of people that need to be talked  too. There's lots of things that have to be worked out, we're not breaking ground tomorrow," he said.

"I think the city should be involved but it's in Montgomery county. People got to realize that, that right here, where I'm standing today is inside the city limits of Clarksville, but it's in Montgomery county," he said.

Durrett plans to continue to move forward with ideas and welcomes any future talks with the city mayor.