From the development standpoint, the newly opened Downtown Commons in Clarksville certainly is expected to do its fair share of presenting a boost for the economy, bringing in millions of dollars in revenue as well as attracting tourism to the area far greater than it has in the past. But for the people who live in the Clarksville area, the draw of the Commons hits closer to home as they’ll enjoy the benefits of the events being planned as well as the opportunity to spend some time getting out and connecting with their fellow citizens in the city they love.
Officially opened in mid-April, the Commons already has a full calendar in the works, rolling out a list of community events including a live concert series, art exhibitions, festivals, fun races, and even the re-opening of the ice rink that was newly introduced last year. More than anything, however, the Commons will impact the way that Clarksville community members use their time downtown, spending longer stretches in this corridor of the city as they play, study, or relax at the Commons and then dine and shop at the boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that have long called these same streets their home.
“We are so excited about what the Downtown Commons has brought and will continue to bring to our community. The definition of the word ‘commons’ is a place for people to gather, and the Downtown Commons really does belong to the people as a place to enjoy,” says Mayor of Montgomery County Jim Durrett.
“Downtown Commons is Montgomery County's living room,” agrees Event Planning Manager for Montgomery County Government Paula Atkins. “I was walking the Commons the night we opened and was delighted to see how many people had come out to enjoy it. There were students from APSU playing soccer and people just sitting in the chairs talking, students with their laptops, and children playing in the water features. This is why Downtown Commons was built, to bring the community back together and give us a space to enjoy each other's company.”
And the reasons to enjoy the space are many, not the least of which is a spherical sculpture using 92 ductile iron pieces cast at Clarksville Foundry. Created by the deft hands of inspired visionary Vaughn Randall, the eight-foot-diameter piece entitled “Window to the World” now graces the plaza at Second and Main Streets, calling people to stand and marvel at its beauty. Designed to mimic the rosette windows of First Presbyterian Church, the piece truly showcases some of Clarksville’s local talent and gives it the chance to shine for generations to come. Twinkling brightly in its own right near the Commons is #STARRYNIGHTCLARKSVILLE, a mural painted by local artist Olasubomi Aka-Bashorum across the entire expanse of the massive brick façade of the building housing Total Fitness on Madison Street.
No doubt seeing such works of art are inspiring to creativity, and that creativity also finds application in the Commons’ Imagination Playground, where young Clarksvillians can come build to their hearts’ content using oversized Tinker Toy-like pieces made of soft, kid-friendly materials. Play is high on the priority list, and for days when the warm weather warrants a good dash and splash, the water features are the perfect solution.
In addition to to those water features so suited to frolicking, another draw to the Commons are four specially constructed rain gardens every bit as lush and soothing as they sound. Designed to siphon a significant amount of rainwater through carefully selected plants and a uniquely designed soil profile, the gardens perform natural processes that create cleaner drinking water and air in addition to producing cooler temperatures during summer. Spanning across the expanse of each rain garden, boardwalks allow those who stroll over their sustainably sourced wooden planks to look out across the lush plantings and enjoy the calming atmosphere.
Getting the groove going downtown, the Downtown @ Sundown Concert Series starts on May 18th with an opening performance by 2013 American Idol participant Jada Vance, headlining 2017 NASHNext winner Radio Romance. Other notables to come out and hear through the course of the series include Aaron Lessard and Chris Turner, Trailer Choir, Neil Brock and the Cover Ups, Thunderstruck, Music 4 Mercy, Broadcast 90’s, Lucian & Lee, Sheyna Gee, Dozzi, and the Joel Brown Band. “The series will provide the perfect getaway for music aficionados or first-time concert attendee, and it will become a local favorite for years to come,” says Director of Two Rivers Company Norman Quirion.
From the awesome concerts to the commissioned art displays to the beautiful simplicity of space to sit in the fresh air and relax, Downtown Commons is certainly proving that it’s a place to enjoy, a place to connect—and a place that’s really anything but common.
Downtown Commons is located at 215 Legion Street, Clarksville, Tennessee 37040. For more information and a schedule of events, call (931) 245-3366 or visit www.downtowncommons.org.
Events at the Commons
May 19: High Roller Crit
June 6: The Big Run 5k
June 6: Red White and Brewfest
September 29: Art Link’s Chalk Walk
October 6: Oktoberfest
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