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Business

March 26, 2010
 

Master Plan: Culture/Public Assembly Assessment

The  Clarksville Strategic Master Plan Urban Culture/Public Assembly Assessment Committee has submitted the following assessment to the city for review and debate. Clarksville is currently accumulating data and input from individuals, business representatives and civic leaders prior to creating a new development plan for the city.

Culture/Public Assembly Assessment

  • Chair: Maggie Kulback

Overview

Clarksville is a city that is rich in diverse cultures and regional cohesiveness, steeped in history and tradition on the brink of moving forward with more quality of life improvements over the next twenty years.  Enhancing upon the foundations already established, Clarksville is prepared to develop and promote the initiatives and facilities that provide the citizens with an environment to enjoy an excellent quality of life.  Clarksville can become a city that locally, regionally, and nationally shows that it promotes activities that enhance the quality of its citizens’ lives through the conduct of cultural events and regional traditional activities.

An essential part of moving Clarksville forward will be the development of common vision for our city which is accepted and promoted by the leadership and populous alike.  Proactive planning must be continual by our elected officials while educating the citizens on the benefits of spending tax dollars on the quality of life activities and facilities.  Providing adequate facilities must be paramount in the planning process.  Continued enhancement of our relationships with Ft. Campbell and Austin Peay State University will enable Clarksville to promote these initiatives; however, these institutions cannot be the sole source of facilities for the city.  It is the opinion of many that an adequately sized, multifunctional convention (civic) center should be built at a convenient site as soon as possible.

With proactive planning and community support Clarksville can become a regional and national “arts, cultural, and historical” center for both our citizens as well as attracted tourists.  The subcommittee on Cultural Activities and Public Assembly has attempted elucidate some of the activities and facilities which might make this goal a reality.

Committee Recommendations

ONE to THREE YEARS

  • International Market Place

(Reference Philadelphia Reading Center, Columbus, OH, Chicago, San Antonio)

Clarksville’s population is among the most diverse of mid-sized cities in the nation. This diversity is already honored with the avenue of flags that stand proudly along the Riverwalk on Riverside drive. An international market place would serve this community, as well as provide rich resources for the surrounding region as a tourist destination. Restaurants, groceries, and cultural artifacts would be available.
Currently, culture-themed stores are scattered throughout town. With an international marketplace, these stores could be enticed to be centrally located. This would allow the stores and merchants to benefit from each other as tourists and local residents would converge on this single marketplace.

It would also include an ‘International Taste of Clarksville’ that would include restaurants that feature various cuisines from different cultures. Also, stages would be provided for weekly cultural cooking and entertainment shows. Private banquet rooms would be ideal for classes and other small events like birthday parties.

Cities that presently offer examples of an international marketplace include Philadelphia, Columbus OH, Chicago, and San Antonio, TX.

  • Performing Arts Center

(Reference: Roxy Regional Theatre/Performing Arts Center, Tennessee Performing Arts Center)

The Roxy Regional Theatre is actively engaged in a fundraising project to build a new performing arts center. This center would feature space for arts and education. The complex is designed by John Sergio Fisher, and will be a state-of-the-art center that will “generate a new enthusiasm not only for downtown Clarksville, but for this entire region,” as indicated on the Roxy’s website, www.roxyregionaltheatre.org.

To gauge the effectiveness of a performing arts center, one needs to look no further than Nashville’s jewels, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Nashville Opera Center which opened in 2009.

The City of Clarksville authorized a contract with the Roxy for purchase of the parking lot adjacent to their existing building. This contract is binding only for a limited time so quick action is necessary in order to facilitate the funding and construction of the project.

Our recommendation is that the City actively pursue ways to invest and possibly assist in funding this valuable asset for our community.

  • Viable Arts Community

( Reference: Nashville Frist Center, Memphis Botanic Garden, St. Louis Missouri Botanical Garden, Cheekwood, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art)

Quality of life in Clarksville is thoroughly enhanced by the local arts community. While the Roxy Performing Arts Center would be a valuable asset for culture, entertainment, and education, the visual arts should be emphasized as well.

Presently, the local arts community is scattered into several smaller groups which have little support from neither the community nor the local government. The Arts & Heritage Development Council is already in place as a city-funded group which would benefit greatly from additional funding and community involvement and awareness.

Another way to demonstrate support and involvement of the public visual arts is to establish community or neighborhood store-front art studios and/or galleries.  Municipalities have encouraged the growth of the public arts in several ways including, but not limited to, renting or selling abandoned buildings in prominent locations to convert them into studios and/or galleries. Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona are examples of successful programs of this type.

Nashville’s Frist Museum is a profound example of how a landmark art museum would benefit a city. Its attractions draw tourists and residents alike, and its opening events are as festive as they are spectacular.

The Brooks Museum of Art and the Botanic Garden, both in Memphis, are the result of a thriving, viable arts community. The Botanic Garden hosts galleries and art shows regularly, providing a venue for local and regional artists alike.

A local botanical garden could feature a Korean-themed garden from our sister city, Gunpo City, South Korea.

Our recommendation is that the City develop a plan to encourage membership and support of the local arts community, thereby adding to the quality of life in the Clarksville area.

FOUR to TEN YEARS

  • Convention/Conference Center

(Reference: Hopkinsville James E. Bruce Convention Center, Nashville Convention Center, Proposed Hotel and Conference Center study by PKF Consulting in 2009)

A large events center remains a critical need for the City of Clarksville. Event planners are regularly forced to host their large conventions or other events elsewhere because Clarksville does not presently offer any facilities that can adequately accommodate them.

Smaller venues are indeed available, but for large events the closest complex is the James E. Bruce Convention Center just outside Hopkinsville. We believe Clarksville is ripe for a full-size convention center and hotel complex.

The Chamber of Commerce hosted its first home and garden show this year. Organizers reported an attendance of around 1000 people on just one day alone, indicating that this is an event that’s sure to continue to grow. This is just one of many events that could be hosted in a larger facility.

  • Fairgrounds/Outdoor events center

(Reference: Louisville, KY features indoor and outdoor events on the same campus)

For outdoor events, including the North Tennessee State Fair, a proper venue is essential. With the demise of the Wilma Rudolph Pavilion and the Fairgrounds Park (now renamed Liberty Park), we strongly recommend acquisition and construction of an outdoor facility which would host these events.

Plans are underway for the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to be razed in favor of private development. This leaves a large vacuum for outdoor events, a vacuum that Clarksville can and should be ready to fill with a stellar outdoor facility. Rodeos, flea markets, fairs, festivals, and Oktoberfest are some examples of events that are possible.

  • Sports Center

(Centennial Sportsplex, Nashville)

A multi-fitness recreation and sports facility would allow for residents and visitors to enjoy a wide variety of sporting events and competitions. Hockey, indoor football, tennis, soccer, aquatics, and other sports would be available.

The Dr. Thomas F. Frist Centennial Sports Facility (http://www.nashville.org/sportsplex/) is operated by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, which indicates that such a facility would be a public asset to the community.

Nashville currently hosts at least four major indoor tennis facilities. The lack of a local indoor tennis court complex forces residents to drive to Nashville for their sport. We believe any sports center should include clay tennis courts for local enthusiasts in this popular sport.

  • Film Festival

(Reference: Nashville Film Festival, Bolder International Film Festival, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival)

A local film festival that features artistic and quality films would allow filmmakers from throughout the region to screen their films as a part of the best and brightest.

The Nashville Film Festival is an excellent example of a thriving, successful film festival.

  • Fine Arts Magnet School

(Reference: Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School)

A thriving arts community is best served when the best and brightest young artists and performers have a venue to hone their skills while still in primary and secondary school. A fine arts magnet school would provide these students with extra opportunities in both the visual and performing arts.

Nashville’s Hume-Fogg school is a stellar example of bringing stellar students into a classic learning environment. Plus, Metro also features Isaiah T. Creswell Arts Magnet Middle School, which is unique in the Metro school system.

The Creswell Middle Arts Magnet mission statement is “to provide the highest instruction in the Fine and Performing Arts while promoting mastery of academic standards at or above the national norm.”

We recommend similar facilities for Clarksville students.

ELEVEN TO TWENTY YEARS

  • Theme Park

(Reference: Six Flags Over Georgia, Dollywood, Opryland)

The benefit of providing a theme park as a regional attraction to tourism is self-evident. Not only would local youth and young adults have “something to do” that’s outside the norm, such a park could draw millions of potential tourism dollars.

  • Zoo

(Reference: Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Memphis Zoo)

A local zoo would provide for dynamic learning experiences for students of all ages. Classes could be held for a wide variety of topics from biology to photography. A local zoo would be a regional attraction that would provide more tourism dollars and add to the city’s rich culture.

  • Minor League Sports Team

(Reference: Nashville Sounds)

As the sports community continues to grow in the Clarksville area  we believe that re-introducing a minor league baseball team would be a viable possibility. The Nashville Sounds is a great example of how a strong team can be beneficial for the community.

Grand Rapids, Michigan is home to the Whitecaps. Their events are widely attended and the games provide entertainment for everyone. The Diamond Jaxx is a team in West Tennessee and is based in Jackson.

Knoxville is host to the Ice Bears, a minor league hockey team. Other cities with teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League include Fayetteville, AR, Huntsville, AL, Columbus, GA, and Pensacola, FL.



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