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April 13, 2012

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTER — April 14-15

Clarksville overpass needs to stay

Clarksville’s four new members of the Town Council ran campaigns based on their perceived need for change and vision to make Clarksville the great place to live, work, eat, shop and play. They wanted to move Clarksville “forward” and away from the inefficiencies of the past councils.

Early into the new council’s term, it appeared that campaign visions together with a couple former council members who were re-elected were right on track. The new council voted 5-2 (3 new council members and 2 re-elected members) to overturn a previous decision from several years ago for removing the western overpass on Lewis and Clark Parkway at Brown’s Station Way and replacing with a “stoplight” intersection. There was wide media coverage of the new council’s decision and vision.

Then, April 10, citizens were back at the Town Hall in an open meeting to discuss upcoming Clarksville projects. Citizen input regarding the overpass issues should have been centered on suggestions and ideas for design, landscaping and lighting that would supplement the decision to keep the overpass. However, the input and discussion reverted back to whether or not the decision to retain the overpass was going to remain and proceed. Hopefully, a sound decision of 5-2 will not be overturned in May and Clarksville moves backward not forward by bowing to pressures from special and/or personal agendas at the cost of altering the lifestyle of Clarksville.

If you live in Clarksville, then Clarksville is a lifestyle. If you only work or own a business in Clarksville, then Clarksville is a business. If your personal income is in any way affected by the scope and duration of the overpass project, then it becomes your personal issue. If the current council is going to be effective in their required leadership role, they need to make visionary decisions and move forward to completion.

Let me state my position clear: I have no qualms with decisions of past Clarksville town councils. I believe past councils have done a great job in their continually positioning Clarksville to offer a great lifestyle with all the required amenities. I have lived, owned three businesses and been employed in Clarksville for many years.

Individuals , businesses, community and civic organizations are going to make some improper decisions or judgments. Major problems occur when attempts are made to spin an improper decision to appear as a good decision. The previous decision to remove the subject overpass was an improper decision many years ago and it would be an improper decision today.

Stoplights are prone to accidents — serious accidents. Are we not seeing round-a-bouts replacing stop lights and four-way stops throughout the country to curtail the many accidents at “stops”?

If Clarksville is to look inviting, exciting and futuristic as you enter, it can’t be done with a stoplight. It has to be done with some architecturally designed structure such as a hi-grade overpass.

— Suzann Slayton, Clarksville

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