CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Come summer 2022, downtown Clarksville could look a lot different, Austin Peay basketball fans could have a new arena to cheer on their team and News 2 is hearing about the possibility of a minor league hockey team coming to the area.
All this, only possible if the Montgomery County Commission votes yes on a brand new Multi-Purpose Event Center (MPEC).
“It’s going to be a big yes,” Montgomery County Mayor, Jim Durrett said Monday.
If that’s the case the 270,000 square foot, $105,000,000 building would sit between College, Main and First streets.
In August, Mayor Durrett’s office received final approval from the County Commission to purchase all the land for the MPEC, which includes the buildings that currently sit where it will one day stand.
Concerts, rodeos, Austin Peay basketball and minor league hockey games are all prospects.
“If you don’t like basketball, don’t come to a basketball game, maybe you like hockey, it’s going to have two sheets of ice come, you don’t like hockey, maybe come see a rodeo, you don’t like a rodeo, how about a concert, don’t like concerts, maybe a boat show,” Mayor Durrett joked.
In August, Mayor Durrett’s office received final approval from the County Commission to purchase all the land for the MPEC. The county now owns all of the buildings in MPEC’s.
“Over the past few months we have been working hard with our design team and partners,” Mayor Durrett said, adding this project is long overdue.
“Based on our funding sources, we can pay for the MPEC without using property tax dollars,” Durrett said, utilizing instead, hotel-motel tax, naming rights, sales tax within the facility, seat user fee, tenant fee PILOT payments, and internet sales tax.
Mayor Durrett cited a study that says MPEC would bring 12,000 additional hotel/motel stays per year, more than $20 million into the local economy– $13 million of which would come from direct spending at MPEC.
Mayor Durrett says both the public and county commission are excited about the project, but the commission is concerned about how to pay for it.
“We lose a lot of people to Nashville on weekends,” Mayor Durrett said. “We don’t have that big entertainment venue.”
If this is a go, Austin Peay would move all of their home basketball games off-campus to the new site and there’s the possibility the event center could one day be home to a minor league hockey team.
The County Commission is set to vote on funding and MPEC’s future on November 12th.
“I personally think this will be one of the biggest decisions a legislative body will make in our history,” Mayor Durrett said.