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] Fort Defiance cut has project down, not out

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  • lilsteve68@aol.com
    From the Clarksville, TN Leaf-Chronicle: By Jill Noelle Cecil The Leaf-Chronicle Originally published Monday, July 5, 2004 A $265,000 city budget cut for Fort
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2004
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      From the Clarksville, TN Leaf-Chronicle:



      By Jill Noelle Cecil
      The Leaf-Chronicle
      Originally published Monday, July 5, 2004

      A $265,000 city budget cut for Fort Defiance slices twice as deep into
      a project to preserve the earthen Civil War fortifications in New
      Providence.

      Most of that money proposed in Mayor Don Trotter's budget would have
      helped leverage another $250,000 in a federal land and water grant,
      said Austin Peay State University history professor Howard Winn.

      The money would have allowed the Clarksville Parks and Recreation
      Department to prevent erosion from damaging the property and building
      a walking path around the fort for visitors. There were also plans to
      buy a piece of property to allow a new entrance into the city park,
      which would divert park traffic away from a neighborhood.

      "The federal government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers see the
      value of this project," said Winn, who is chairman of the Fort
      Defiance Historical Park Planning Commission. "It'd be nice if some
      members of the City Council saw the same value."

      The Fort Defiance planning group will meet Thursday to decide what it
      will do now, Winn said.

      The reduction was the biggest single change council members made July
      1 during its final deliberations on the 2004-05 budget.

      Ward 2 Councilman Ken Takasaki offered the cut in favor of shifting
      the money to the Street Department budget for street paving and other
      construction projects.

      Winn said it's possible the group will seek a budget amendment in the
      future. He said the group may want to have another meeting with all 12
      council members.

      Council members were invited to an unveiling of the $2.2 million
      master plan for the 640-acre property in December, but only a few
      showed up.

      "Maybe we didn't do a good job of explaining it and they didn't do a
      good job trying to find out anything about it," Winn said. "This
      committee is not going to stop. This is too valuable a community asset."

      Fort Defiance is just above the convergence of the Cumberland and Red
      rivers where it was built by Confederate soldiers to watch the river.
      Union soldiers captured the fort and finished building it.

      The fort could be linked to McGregor Park with an extension of the
      RiverWalk, said Clarksville Parks and Recreation Director Starlene
      Shackelford.

      Plans for Fort Defiance include linking it to a neighborhood park
      under development nearby, she said.

      The neighborhood park was planned to complement Fort Defiance and was
      bolstered by input from neighbors in New Providence, Shackelford said.

      Improving the fort site would enhance the entire area, preserve
      history, attract tourism and create a scenic place with great views,
      Shackelford said.

      "When the leaves are off the trees, you can see for miles and it's
      gorgeous," Shackelford said. "One of the vistas planned will have one
      of the best views (of the city) I've seen anywhere -- even better than
      the top floor from the mayor's office."

      Trotter said he hopes the group will not be discouraged. It was one of
      only two capital projects planned for the new fiscal year.

      "Overall, I was satisfied with the budget, but this was a big
      disappointment," Trotter said. "I certainly hope this is revisited.
      ... My thinking was that the community needed a positive project to
      get behind."

      Clarksville resident Roger Kilcoyne strolled through the mounds at
      Fort Defiance Friday, curious to see what has happened to the site
      since he visited it last on a school trip as a child.

      "It's unfortunate," Kilcoyne said of the council's decision. "But I
      think sooner or later, it will get done. I think it's important to
      businesses when you have nice parks people want to visit."
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