The Montgomery County Commission’s $130 million approval to fund a Multi-Purpose Event Center in downtown Clarksville on Nov. 12 hasn’t slowed efforts to get the question before voters on a ballot.
Steven Currie with Residents for Effective Government is assisting in the petition drive to have the question of whether to have the county fund the project decided by the general voting public.
The commission voted 17-4 in favor of the project Nov. 12 despite sounds of opposition from people holding signs that read, “Let the People Vote” and “Right to Vote.”
The 270,000-square-feet planned event center would have two ice rinks and a large area for special events or concerts and possibly play host to Austin Peay State University basketball games.
The county is in negotiations with the Nashville Predators to manage the facility.
Those in favor of a referendum will need to gather signatures from 10 percent of all registered voters in Montgomery County and turn them in to the county’s election commission.
Only Montgomery County registered voters’ signatures will count.
Currie said the group has a long way to go with nearly 600 signatures so far but remains hopeful they’ll be able to gather the required number.
“We need about 11,000 signatures before the question can be placed on the March 2020 [primaries] ballot,” Currie said. “We’re gathering signatures. It is a hurdle. We think this issue needs to be on the ballot. The project is not essential spending, and it will impact our county budget for 30 years.”
Currie said he’s not opposed to Montgomery County having an event center, but he opposes the county building one.
“Taxpayers deserve the right to vote on this,” Currie said. “So far, we’ve had a pretty positive response from the community on this petition. Nearly 20 area businesses said they’ll hold petitions for us for people to sign. We have volunteers helping us to gather signatures.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Joshua Beal, who voted against the funding for the center, appealed to his fellow commissioners to vote against the project. He said people can be in favor of the center and still also favor having the issue placed on a public referendum.
Helga and Wallace Redd volunteered to collect signatures Nov. 18 at Paul And Jackie's Country Kitchen at 1578 Zinc Plant Road in Clarksville.
Currie said more volunteers are needed to help collect signatures. More information can be found at tinyurl.com/Event-Center-Vote. Petitions can be downloaded at fundingvote.com. For more information, email email@example.com.