Clarksville Sports Complex-1.jpg (copy)

The Clarksville Redevelopment Commission will soon be sending out new requests for proposal for development at the south end of Eastern Boulevard

CLARKSVILLE — Plans for development of a gateway into Clarksville are being revised after a planned sports complex garnered no proposals.

In June, Clarksville officials announced plans to buy roughly five acres at 342 Eastern Boulevard, on which sat America's Best Inns and Suites, which is being razed. They paid $4.8 million for the property.

In late October, the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission sent out requests for proposals for an indoor youth sports complex to be developed on 4.1 acres of the land — a project officials said would be perfect for the location given the Interstate 65 access. The town would retain control of the land, entering a 25-year lease with the developer of the sports complex, which had a target opening in 2021.

Although interest was shown by developers prior to the announcement, no one submitted a formal plan by the Nov. 26 deadline. Now, officials are reopening the proposal process to include other projects.

"I'm not concerned about being able to find a tenant and a user for that site," Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said. "There's a lot of interest; it's a good locale. It's hard to find five acres adjacent to the interstate that's accessible, so we believe it will long term work out for the community's benefit."

By late next week, Fisher said he plans to send out the new request, with the main change being that the sports complex will not be listed as the preferred use; the site will be open to all uses.

"We haven't drawn any hard and fast lines; it's just what's the best use for that site," John Gilkey, council member who also serves on the redevelopment commission, said. "The town has roughly 5 million tied up in that property, we have to turn it and get it to the point where there is a revenue stream coming in to offset the bond payment that we have incurred in acquiring that property."

Fisher said that while the new project will be open for many different types of development, the town will be choosy in deciding what will go there.

"At the end of the day, a big element of that project is to create an entryway into the community, so buildings and uses that are going to accomplish that are going to score highly in the process."

He said a gas station, for instance, is unlikely. A hotel, restaurants or office building, however, are more in line with the gateway entrance anchor town officials envision.

"At this point in time, we're opening it up to all potential uses, which will be vetted heavily to determine what is the most desirable project for that site," Fisher said.

He speculated that it may have been the timing that led to the lack of proposals; the request was posted in the fourth quarter of the year and for only 30 days. The new proposal is expected to be posted for 90 to 120 days, with an announcement on the site's use expected in the spring.

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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