CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Clarksville, a sleepy town on the Tennessee – Kentucky border known mainly for being home to Fort Campbell and a funky winery on Interstate 24.
Not anymore. This Montgomery County community is booming with new people moving in and new businesses. Now, more than 200,000 people call Clarksville home.
Growth is continuing at a record pace.
“Grown-up and grown out. Our growth continues to set record numbers and so we are just excited about what’s ahead,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.
There have been setbacks. In 2008, Hemlock Semiconductors announced a $1.2 billion manufacturing plant on 1300 acres, bringing with it hundreds of jobs. In 2014, with the plant completed and just prior to opening, Hemlock announced its market in China was gone and the plant would close permanently.
“Well as you do with any loss first you kind of deal with the shock then you figure out why and then you realize that we did it once and we can do it again,” said Pitts.
And Clarksville did. Google is now located in the old Hemlock facility and after Google came Hankook Tires.
“With Hankook operating here, it’s their first North American plant and it’s not just any plant, it’s a large operation out there occupying hundreds of acres and generating thousands of jobs,” said Pitts.
Then, LG brought a washing machine manufacturing plant.
“So we are very thankful to have those companies here but we are also very thankful that some stalwart companies like Trane Company, Bridgestone, Metalpha, and Hendrickson Travers Suspension have been here and been here virtually for years,” said Mayor Pitts.
Clarksville is a growing city with a small-town feel with amenities but at a lower cost of living,
“We have great infrastructure and we have a quality of life that their employees and their corporate folks can enjoy while they are here, natural resources, proximity to Nashville helps, so we kind of have it all in this one package this one region.”
Another real plus for Clarksville is Austin Peay State University.
“Well let me state emphatically Austin Peay is invaluable to us, to our economic development, to our community. A lot of communities would kill to have interstates, rivers, historic downtown, an army post. But to have a state university that is the fastest growing in the state, that says something.”
Mayor Pitts says the real secret of Clarksville is its people and their spirit.
“Well we are a resilient city, whether it’s the gander crash of 1985 when those soldiers lost their lives how we bounced back quickly from that whether it’s the tornado of 1990, we came together neighbor helping neighbor.”
Maybe the brightest light for Clarksville is its future as this historic growth continues.
“I think we want to be a city known for innovation and we want to make sure that we understand our diversity and what it brings to the table in terms of operations or a company or business or else just someone decides to move here because they like the way we look or feel.”
News 2 is digging deeper into the growth of Clarksville and the impact it has on communities in Middle Tennessee. We explore “Clarksville: The Good, The Bad, The Future” all day Thursday in every newscast. Click here for more.