Could a new multi-purpose event center be headed to downtown Clarksville?

Photo: WKRN

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Thursday morning Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett announced he is in discussions with the Nashville Predators and Austin Peay State University to build a multi-purpose event center in the heart of downtown.

Durrett told News 2 his office began working with consultants more than 18 months ago in efforts to uncover options for growth in the area and have preliminary conversations with community stakeholders.

“Our goal was to research ideas for building the best future for Montgomery County. Options have been discussed for years, so we engaged professionals to explore and develop various options that would be appropriate for and beneficial to our community for review and consideration,” said Durrett in a release.

However, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMilllian called the plan “shocking and unwise” Thursday afternoon.

She told New 2 the plan would conflict with the county’s primary role to fund schools.

McMillan said the last few years, the city has been working on ways to revitalize the area, including bringing a performing arts center to downtown.

“We also have done a very long and detailed study on a major athletic complex for the city which would involve an additional soccer field and additional sporting events. It would also include ice,” said McMillian.

In response, the county mayor sent News 2 a statement that read in part, “I truly want a partner in the city that thinks outside the box, and wants to deliver real results for our community. The lack of communication between the city and county government is very real. I could cite numerous examples, but will take that up with Mayor McMillian if she is willing to meet me or return an email.”

“I just think that when you have a project like this, as large as this, you need to involve everybody because the city taxpayers will ultimately be the ones that will be on the hook so we all deserve to be involved in such a great project,” said McMillian.

“We felt like we are going to be putting some money in the budget. We felt like the public needed to know what we were going to be asking for in our budget so we let the press release out,” said Durrett in a phone call with News 2.

County Mayor Durrett said the idea of a multi-purpose event center is still in the early planning stages.