] Fort Defiance cut has project down, not out
- From the Clarksville, TN Leaf-Chronicle:
By Jill Noelle Cecil
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
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
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 were invited to an unveiling of the $2.2 million
master plan for the 640-acre property in December, but only a few
"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
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,
"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
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."