CLARKSVILLE — The future of South Clarksville's redevelopment visions took another step Thursday as final input was collected on the conceptual phases of several major upcoming projects.
At a community workshop Thursday at the Water Tower Square building, planners from MKSK, the urban design firm that has been hired by the town to help create and implement development and redevelopment efforts, presented the latest concepts on potential riverfront and Woerner Avenue design.
The presentation was a modified and upgraded result of input gathered from community stakeholders over the past several months; input was also gathered Thursday before the MKSK team gets to work on the schematic designs, the first of which are expected in about six months. Once those are fine-tuned, construction documents will be created and investment sought.
Thursday's conceptual designs included the expansion of Ashland Park all along the riverfront complete with shaded areas, catwalks, potential restaurant and pavilion space and playground renovations.
The Woerner Avenue project is slated to become a main corridor in South Clarksville, a mixed-use urban area that would house office, residential and small commercial space.
“[Woerner Avenue] will be our first priority and we hope that's really going to spark redevelopment,” said A.D. Stonecipher, Clarksville redevelopment commission president and town council member.
The plan paints Woerner as a corridor that can directly connect to the riverfront. It includes widening the road from 60 feet to 73 and creating bicycle paths separated from but alongside the road.
“We're really hoping to create an integrated area where people can live and work and shop and do it all on their bicycles if they want to,” he said.
Sharon Handy, Clarksville resident and plan commission member, owns two properties along Riverside Drive near Woerner Avenue, including one she lives in. She said while she likes most of the plan, she sees the area there as better with fewer trees, a more open space — to preserve the view to potential restaurants and residents there.
“I think it's not quite finished,” she said of the design. “I think it still needs some tweaking but I think overall it could be just a world-class event.”
Dylan Fisher, Clarksville's redevelopment director, said that much of the input since the first workshop on these projects in winter has been about preserving the skyline and view of Louisville — Thursday's designs show planned breaks in the trees where there were large open views of the city.
“There were a lot of concerns about preserving the view,” he said. In the Clarksville master plan, finalized in 2015, it hits on the skyline as a major asset to the town. “No one can reproduce [that view] in the area. It's an asset that the town owns.”
He said there were originally more trees in the plan, but they've shifted some of that.
“The first meeting (in December) was a good reminder to make us look back at the master plan and make certain we're following exactly what the public wanted,” Fisher said.
Sandi and Russell Johnson moved from Louisville to the Harbors in Jeffersonville six years ago. They welcome the bustling excitement of what's planned for their neighborhood.
“All this stuff happening around [this area] is just fantastic,” Russell said.
Russell Brooksbank said he appreciates how transparent and open the town is being to include residents in shaping the future of their town.
“It is our community,” he said. “I feel we're all stakeholders.”
Stonecipher said he appreciates the collaboration between community members, town leaders and planners to help create a space that will enhance the landscape of the river town.
“I'm really pleased with tonight's gathering; 95 percent of all the comments I got tonight are positive and on board with this latest concept,” Stonecipher said.
“Now we have public buy-in and we're all on the same page. Now we can move forward with getting schematic designs and looking at the realities of taking this from paper to build.”