CLARKSVILLE — New Clarksville Redevelopment Director Nic Langford said he’s up to the task of continuing to help lead the town through some of the largest redevelopment efforts in recent history.
Langford, who previously served two years as the town’s redevelopment associate, was recently selected as the new director out of a pool of more than 20 applicants. He follows in the footsteps of previous director Dylan Fisher, who got the ball rolling on the more than 40 ongoing projects at various stages, which Langford now inherits.
“I’m really excited,” the new director said. “I’ll be taking on a lot of responsibility and a lot of projects, but I’m up to the task. It’s going to be really fun to bring these projects to fruition and to see some tangible progress.”
Among those closer to completion is the ongoing work to Woerner Avenue — recently renamed Main Street — which stretches from Riverside Drive to the former Colgate building in South Clarksville. Once finished, the roadway will be bordered on the East by Bolt + Tie, a four story, mixed-use development that will be home to Elevate Office Suites, with restaurant and micro-office space and luxury apartments.
Bolt + Tie is expected to be completed within the next few months, with Main Street wrapping up in the second quarter of the year. The town has also finalized plans on the street grid at the 28-acre former Marathon property nearby, with streets to be named after members of the Corps of Discovery.
Langford said the development in this area, which follows the 2016 South Clarksville Comprehensive Plan, will serve as a downtown area and contribute to Clarksville’s identity within the region.
He said a unique aspect of the Main Street project and surrounding areas is that unlike some other cities and towns that have an established downtown area with historic buildings, “we’re going to have to build out our own downtown from scratch,” Langford said. “Which is kind of cool because we can differentiate ourselves from our neighbors.”
He sees the development as a “walkable equitable place,” that he hopes will help be a draw to retaining and inviting new residents and businesses to the town.
“What really sets Clarksville apart...we have a gorgeous skyline to look at, we can offer rent rates that are more competitive,” he said. “There’s more space, you can have a place to walk your dog, you can have a great quality of life and a beautiful place to live — it’s striking that balance.”
Other upcoming projects include the completion of the extension of Sam Gwin Drive connecting the recently renovated Veterans Parkway to the hotels nearby.
During his first two years with the town, Langford has assisted with several prominent redevelopment projects including the Discovery Trail Project, the Town of Clarksville Small Business COVID-19 relief program and other economic stimulus projects to help generate revenue for the Town of Clarksville.
“We chose Nic, as he is an enthusiastic public servant with ever-growing knowledge of real estate development including purchasing, who has developed requests for proposals, and is familiar with our redevelopment process,” Clarksville Town Manager Kevin Baity said in a news release. “We know Nic can help Clarksville achieve our short and long-range redevelopment goals.”
Langford’s hiring can also help continue opportunities identified over the past several years for “significant investment and redevelopment along the riverfront in South Clarksville, where the area’s economy and culture have been tied to the river for centuries,” the news release said. “This includes a push to advance the riverfront’s marketability, livability, and desirability to boost economic opportunities and turn the area into a vibrant mixed-use district.”
During 2020, the town sought and received small business grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to help stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Langford said by the end of January, the town will have distributed more than $500,000 to more than 40 businesses in the community, with plans to seek another $250,000 grant this month.
He said that once the pandemic subsides, Clarksville intends to start a Revolving Loan Fund to help provide gap funding for qualifying small businesses that struggle to secure traditional financing. He said the long-term, low-interest public loan should mitigate enough project risks so a business owner can obtain traditional financing through local lending partners.
“We have already assembled a team from Southern Indiana’s local business community to help launch the program and review loan applicants,” Langford said in an email. “Another way we are looking to help our small business community is the recently launched Business Registration Program, which is a mechanism for us to track local businesses and communicate with our local business owners.”
For instance, if a new road or sewer project is going to impact a local business, the town staff may struggle to find contact information for the owner, especially if they’re in another state or country. However with the new Business Registration Program staff will have a direct contact number for all registered businesses so it can immediately inform the business community of any project that may impact their property.
The program will also help local business stay in contact with one another and the town and share resources and best practices.
Langford has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas, his home state, and served in the Peace Corps before earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Louisville. He said everything aligned perfectly when he took the job in Clarksville two years ago, and he is ready to help further its growth.
“It’s interesting, it’s engaging, you get a chance to make a difference,” he said. “Every day is different.” He gave credit to Fisher for his work over the past several years.
“He’s really done a lot — he’s my predecessor and I say he’s still my mentor,” Langford said. “He got the ball rolling down here and my job is to make sure that that ball goes in the correct place.
To follow ongoing projects in Clarksville, go to https://www.townofclarksville.com/new-projects/