CLARKSVILLE — The town of Clarksville has announced it plans to purchase and redevelop a long-time hotel on Eastern Boulevard.
America's Best Inn and Suites at 342 Eastern Blvd. was sold last week for $3.5 million to an Indianapolis-based investor, a representative of the hotel told the News and Tribune on Tuesday. It was previously owned by Rivers Edge Investment Co., Inc.
Clarksville officials have not said what they plan to develop on the site once the property is purchased, but say that information will be announced in the next few months.
The News and Tribune received a copy of the published agenda for Tuesday night's Clarksville Redevelopment Commission meeting that included a resolution to buy the hotel property. However, the agenda item had been removed before the meeting, which started at 7 p.m., and the issue of purchasing the property was not discussed.
According to a statement sent out Wednesday, the hotel is situated on a 20-acre site town officials believe could serve as a gateway to the community. Future development of the passage could include new commercial, hospitality, recreational and residential uses.
"It's been a long-term goal of Clarksville to create a gateway at the Eastern Boulevard/Interstate 65 interchange," John Gilkey, Clarksville Town Council District 2 representative, said Wednesday. "And part of the acquisition of that property has to do with the creation of that gateway project."
In recent months, the town has also secured development of other properties along Eastern Boulevard, part of a long-range plan to redevelop the corridor.
In April, the Redevelopment Commission approved a $1.25 million land sale for roughly 5 acres of an underused lot at Eastern and Little League boulevards to Form G Companies Land Developers for town homes, apartments and a small retail center. Other upcoming projects include infrastructure improvements such as installing ADA-compliant traffic signals.
Over the last few days, community outreach groups and social service agencies have been working to determine how to help the 98 people who have been living at America's Best Inn and will be displaced when it closes in mid-July. In its statement Wednesday, Clarksville addressed the issue, stating officials will help the organizations provide the needed assistance to those residents.
"The Town of Clarksville has been made aware that the current residents of America’s Best Inn and Suites are being asked to depart the property by July 15th," the statement reads, in part. "The Town of Clarksville has and will continue to coordinate with Southern Indiana’s appropriate local public agencies and not-for-profit organizations to provide outreach and coordination of existing services for the long-term hotel occupants of America’s Best Inn and Suites. At this time, we are encouraging the residents to work with Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana if they need assistance with locating housing or shelter."
Barb Anderson, director of Jeffersonville shelter Haven House, is working with other local groups to find solutions to the hotel residents' impending displacement. They met this week and are looking at ways to find immediate and permanent affordable housing for the people, and advocating at the local and state level to seek assistance for housing.
She said that included conversations with Clarksville officials, who assured her they would assist with the situation.
"We're looking forward to them stepping up to the plate that way," she said.
She said the former owner has also donated $5,000 to the cause to help relocate people, and have told families they are welcome to take furniture from the hotel when they relocate.