Clarksville City Council Supports Eminent Domain for Spring Creek Parkway Project

A city street project that was on the drawing board long before Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts’ administration is being launched as a key priority of its 2020+ Transportation Master Plan.

The Spring Creek Parkway development—designed to intersect Trenton Road and Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, eventually extending to Ted Crozier, Sr. Boulevard in Clarksville’s major medical and business districts—will likely include the use of eminent domain to gather and secure part of the property that is in the projected hallway.

The Clarksville City Council on Thursday backed an ordinance at the first of two readings that would “authorize the exercise of the right of eminent domain” for part of Spring Creek Parkway.

Two council members voted “no” to the measure – Trisha Butler and Ambar Marquis.

A council member who voted “yes”, Karen Reynolds, said she did so with reservations because of her objections to eminent domain. The decision to build the road easily predates the current council and mayor administration, and for her, that was the deciding factor.

The new Spring Creek Parkway is expected to handle about 40,000 vehicles a day, and officials hope it will help clear some of the existing traffic jams on Trenton Road, the 101st Airborne Division Parkway, Needmore Road, Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, and even in a certain extent. , Interstate 24, especially between exits 1 and 4.

Eminent domain refers to the power of government to take private property and convert it to public use.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the government can only exercise this power if it provides “just compensation” to affected owners.

Eminent Domain on Rossview Road: Rossview Road debate: What strawberry grower Billy McCraw told the county commission

Eminent domain is also exercised for the widening of portions of Rossview Road. In the current case, Montgomery County, acting for the State Department of Transportation, was involved in the collection of property between International Boulevard and Kirkwood Road.

This process has also not been without controversy, especially for Rossview area farmer Billy McCraw and his family who are directly affected and are speaking out on the issue.

The city uses eminent domain along the Spring Creek Parkway corridor to acquire easements, property, and rights-of-way for the road.

Officials argue this is for the greater public good because of how it is expected to “relieve traffic and improve the quality of life for city residents”.

The city works within a set of project timelines. They add that eminent domain is the best available option because, as the order states, “it may not be possible to effectively negotiate easements and acquisitions of property in a timely manner with affected owners … and to negotiate the consent and partial release of property acquisitions from the owner’s credit institutions before the start date of the roadway construction works.”

“The estate’s eminent issue is sensitive,” Pitts said, “but sometimes necessary to make public improvements. We follow a process that is strict, deliberate, and fair to the owner and taxpayer.

“Spring Creek Parkway planning has gotten us to the point where we have 15 parcels included in this ordinance,” he said.

Of the 15, five relate only to temporary construction easements. Five others relate to permanent embankment and drainage easements, as well as temporary construction easements.

The bottom five on Pitts’ list relate to buying a property from owners, as well as building, slope and drainage easements.

“Nine of the fifteen properties are awaiting mortgage release after obtaining landlord approval,” he added.

Contact Jimmy Settle at [email protected] or 931-245-0247. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to TheLeafChronicle.com.