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The Clarksville Redevelopment Commission, working with Indianapolis-based urban design firm Rundell Ernstberger Associates, will soon be seeking public input on a master plan to re-envision roughly 600 acres of aging commercial space in central Clarksville.

CLARKSVILLE — Clarksville officials will soon be seeking public input on the town's largest master plan since the South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan was implemented in 2016.

Though dates have not been finalized, Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said the public input sessions will likely begin the second week of January to help create the vision for the Catapult Central Clarksville, or the 3C Master Plan. It's an endeavor to reimagine the roughly 600 acres of historically commercial retail space along the Lewis and Clark Parkway and Broadway districts.

Part, but not all, of the catalyst for change in that particular area came when officials began discussing how to approach the aging buildings which once held big box stores, amidst changes in the way consumers shop. After a monthslong national search for the right firm to assist with the plan, the town hired Ernstberger Rundell Associates (REA) in August.

Fisher said the brainstorming will be a good way to think "about it outside the box from both a big ideas but also a practicality and technical standpoint with regards to what the market can bear," he said.

"At the end of the day, it's really just trying to set a vision for the town to be able to establish policy...in how to encourage continued private investment and new investment along the corridor. What's the vision for it? is it retaining this [as a] commercial corridor? And if it is, who are those tenants we try to attract to it?"

The yearlong plan, expected to be completed by REA in fall 2020, will start with input from the public on what they'd like to see in the area in the way of transforming it into a "vibrant, walkable, mixed-use destination," according to the REA website. "The plan will create a framework for redevelopment and infill projects that capitalize on existing district assets while increasing residential density, improving walkability and creating active community amenities."

REA will refine the initial public input gathered, presenting it at a series of workshops over the following five to six months with the finished plan expected in September or October 2020.

The plan comes as Clarksville works to address multiple areas of town in need for redevelopment. Multiple major projects have already been initiated in the South Clarksville redevelopment area, with the 2016 plan as a guide. Changes have been coming to the town's first commercial corridor — the Eastern Boulevard area — for about a decade, Fisher said. These include the construction of Renaissance Academy, Gateway Park and the new Little League area, and more recent plans such as the acquisition of land for a youth sports complex.

"[The 3C Master Plan] is no different than what we've done in our other [parts of town]," Fisher said. "This is going to require some municipal investment...the need for redevelopment, the Big Box discussion, they come into play. We have a number of vacancies today; the facilities are aging which results in reduced investments from the private ownership groups."

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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