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Clarksville EDA purchases pocket park
SoVaNow.com / February 13, 2013Clarksville’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) has purchased the pocket park in downtown Clarksville, EDA member Charlie Simmons told members of Clarksville Town Council last week.
The pocket park, located at the corner of Fourth Street and Virginia Avenue, has frequently been a subject of complaints from business owners and residents because of its blighted condition.
Twice a year, the site is a central focus in Clarksville — during and after Lakefest when a local artist constructs a sand sculpture in the park, and at Christmas when the town tree is erected and a tree lighting ceremony is held. Otherwise, the plot is a mostly unused sand-and-gravel open space surrounded by aging cutoff barrels planted with a few annuals.
Last year, the Lake Country Homebuilders Association, led by local contractor Glenn Edwards, attempted to improve the site by installing a gazebo built by the building trades class at Bluestone High School. However, the grounds surrounding the gazebo were not planted or improved.
Simmons said, for now, the EDA plans to clear the site, bring in new dirt and plant a grass lawn over the area. At the same time, members are asking for ideas for the best use of the property. One suggestion offered by Simmons is to roof over a portion of the plot so the area can be used as a small farmers market, or open-air performance venue, or both.
In other Town Council business, Glenn Jurczyk said he has completed a walk through of Robbins Park, assessing damage to the buildings and grounds, as a first step before the town restores the park for the upcoming Dixie Youth baseball tournament in June. He added that some work has begun, including painting of the building’s interior and removal of rotted carpet.
Jurczyk projected the cost of restoring the ballpark building at around $5,000, but that figure does not include work on the field’s floodlights, since the town does not have equipment to access the lights.
Last month, Jason Claiborne, president of Clarksville Dixie Youth, Inc. told Town Council that Clarksville’s Dixie Youth organization is slated to host two major tournaments — one softball and the other baseball — over two consecutive weekends in June.
Shaver Park, the facility used by Dixie Youth, is not large enough to handle both tournaments, according to Claiborne. He told Council, “Robbins Park is crucial to our success.”
Unfortunately, Robbins Park, which had been neglected for several years, is in need of repairs, including replacement of rotting doors and doorframes, broken windows, aging carpet, peeling paint, and broken lights in the light towers.
At that meeting, Town Council committed to working with Claiborne in renovating the park in time for the tournaments.
In other business, Council is looking into new ways to collect back taxes from area scofflaws, some of whom have been delinquent for several years despite repeated efforts by the town to collect monies it is owed.
Lori Hamlett, appearing on behalf of the town office, asked Council to consider instituting several options, including publishing the names of delinquent taxpayers in the newspaper, participating in the state debt setoff program that allows the town to receive any monies owed to the taxpayer by the State of Virginia (such as tax refunds), garnishing bank accounts and seizing personal property.
The Clarksville Ruritan Club renewed its request for the town to move its polling place from the Clarksville Community Center. The Ruritan Club uses the center most Tuesday nights for Bingo, which is a major fundraising source for the Club. The Bingo games are cancelled every time there is an election in the county — which happened four times last year.
The Ruritan Club suggested Council move the polling location to the Enrichment Complex on Noblin Farm Road. Council members agreed to look into the possibility of moving the site, but acknowledged that the Elections Registrar, not the town, has the authority to set polling locations.
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