The Town of Clarksville hired the multidisciplinary team of Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA), AECOM, and CWC Latitudes to guide the Town leadership, staff, and its residents through the process of developing a Master Plan that will re-invigorate roughly 660 acres along the Lewis and Clark Parkway. The Master Plan will provide policy direction and guidance to create a long-term community vision for the Town’s commercial core and how it can be redeveloped to support a wider variety of activities, with a focus on infill and mixed-use development that can support existing commercial activities while encouraging a more diverse range of residential, office, recreation, and professional activities.

Central Clarksville is accessed by two major corridors, Lewis and Clark Parkway and Veterans Parkway, and is visible from Interstate 65.  The project study area includes Lewis and Clark Parkway from Providence Way to Interstate 65, Broadway Street from Lewis and Clark to Woodstock Drive, Greentree Boulevard from Lewis and Clark to Blackiston View Drive, and adjoining properties. The study area is comprised of primarily commercial land with two regional shopping malls, several smaller neighborhood commercial developments, and surrounded by single-family and some multi-family housing.

Clarksville, like many other communities across the U.S., is experiencing a change in retail trends with the closure of brick and mortar stores due to increased online shopping.  This has left many store fronts along Lewis and Clark Parkway with increased vacancy. To better plan for shifting retail trends, the master plan will address the impacts of reduced demand for retail space and increased big-box vacancies, identify appropriate locations for new housing and employment opportunities, and identify future public infrastructure needs. It will accomplish this by reflecting market potential, identifying locations for housing, mixed-use, recreation, entertainment, destination retail, and employment uses within the study area. 

The Catapult Central Clarksville (3C) Master Plan must be a vision for strengthening the function, appearance, and economic potential of the Central Clarksville area.  The master plan will establish a series of recommendations to transform the auto-oriented commercial district into a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use destination.  The plan creates a framework for redevelopment projects capitalizing on existing area assets while increasing residential density, improving walkability, and creating active community amenities. While this is not a transportation plan, opportunities to support the Town’s complete streets policy with additional multi-modal facilities and safety improvements are explored.

In order to facilitate redevelopment, a catalyst project is a common way to indicate to developers that the market is primed and incentives are available.  Through this study, the Redevelopment Commission is evaluating all sites and alternatives and looking for potential partners who will create a dynamic, mixed-use core development that sets the stage for new private investment in the area.

The project started in September 2019, with the hiring of the consultant team, expected at the time, to take approximately a year.  The four phased planning process takes a community through a well-defined process that documents assets and issues, benchmarks market realities, generates aspirational and visionary ideas, develops action steps, and identifies implementation partners. All to meet the goals of the Town for this project which include:

  • Facilitate redevelopment so that it strengthens existing areas rather than reshuffling development around Town leaving vacant areas, underutilized areas.
  • Transition predominately commercial corridors into ones that can effectively support residential development.
  • Promote infill and reclamation projects which increases residential density and walkability.
  • Consider impacts to Lincoln Park Neighborhood when proposing future land use patterns.
  • Implement complete streets recommendations.

Four Phase Process

Phase 1: Discovery

The Discovery Phase is the time where the consultant team starts the project, collects existing data, analyzes data, researches the market, identifies communities facing similar conditions and issues, and publicly kicks off the project.  During this phase of the project the community outreach and engagement process is developed and implemented.

Phase 2: Visioning

The purpose of the Visioning Phase is to develop conceptual design alternatives and strategies for the redevelopment of Central Clarksville. One of the most effective tools to quickly generate innovative design and redevelopment concepts, engage key stakeholders and constituents, generate buy-in, ownership and consensus, and, ultimately, a collective community vision for the Master Plan, is a community vision workshop.  This workshop builds upon the results of the Discovery Phase through a four-day workshop where the first day is a full day of public input from project stakeholders ending with a community open house.  The remaining days lead to the confirmation of the key issues, the development of the preliminary program, and a series of preliminary redevelopment scenarios for the study area.

Phase 3: Synthesis

The Synthesis Phase is where the preliminary redevelopment scenarios are developed into one preferred redevelopment Master Plan.  Supporting diagrams, cross sections, and illustrations are generated and refined.  Written recommendations are developed that transforms the physical plan into the policy realm where zoning, design guidelines, and transportation recommendations can all be implemented to bring the physical plan to reality.  At the end of the Synthesis Phase, estimated probable costs, economic impacts, incentives, partners, funding, timeline, and prioritization of all projects is developed and put into an action plan for implementation.   

Phase 4: Action

During the Action Phase, the draft Master Plan report summarizing the project process, outcomes, vision, redevelopment plan, and recommendations is unveiled at a public open house for the public to offer input.  After a given time-period, the Master plan will then be taken through adoption and become a part of the comprehensive plan.

Key Issues

Since the beginning of the project, multiple public outreach opportunities have been offered.  These have included stakeholder meetings, public meetings, and online surveys.  Over 40 people participated in stakeholder discussions, more than 100 people attended the open house, and over 300 people responded to the online survey.  From these input opportunities, several issues were identified that will need to be addressed during this process.  Additionally other larger community or region wide issues were noted.  While these cannot be solved in this plan, there may be recommendations or a component in this plan that can address this particular need.  The most prominent issues include:

Transfer of development from one area of town to another. The first commercial area in Town was along Eastern Boulevard. As River Falls Mall and Greentree Mall were developed, commercial services and offices left the storefronts of Eastern Boulevard to newer storefronts along Lewis and Clark Parkway where traffic counts were higher, and malls provided destinations for the region. Then as Veterans Parkway developed with a new layout, different access, less parking in front of buildings, and different architecture, stores moved again. Each time, vacant buildings, less commercial services and offering were available for nearby residents. Each newly developed area was cannibalizing development from existing areas instead of attracting different or new uses into the community. This plan will examine the gaps in the market, what can be supported, what is over saturated, and propose the right mix of uses and development strategies that will minimize the transference of development from one area of Clarksville to another.

Address homelessness that has increased along the corridor and in the area. As the economy continues to change and the housing crisis continues, homelessness increases in communities across America. Small towns like Clarksville are no different. There has been a noticeable increase of homeless people in and around the Central Clarksville area. Some of this can be attributed to the lack of housing availability in Clarksville. The region held a summit on homelessness early in 2020 to develop a region-wide strategy to address this issue. While this master plan cannot specifically solve the problem of homelessness, there can be strategies contained within that address some of the conditions that lead to homelessness.

Address the quality, age, type, and availability of the existing housing stock. Within the study area boundaries, there is very limited housing available except for a few single family homes at the western end of Lewis and Clarks Parkway, single family homes located along Ryan Lane and the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Both the Ryan Lane area and the Lincoln Park neighborhood have vacant parcels available for future residential development. By the end of 2020, the Town of Clarksville’s current single-family subdivisions will have all been fully developed. So their only option in the future is to redevelop land if they want to continue with population growth. With the redevelopment plan an opportunity exists for the integration of mixed uses and to provide a variety of housing types, sizes, and styles to attract new people into the community, to allow others to continue to growth their family within the community and stay in Clarksville, and others to age in place.

Address the destabilization of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The Lincoln Park neighborhood is an older, established neighborhood located on the northeast side of the study area. It is wedged between the River Falls Mall and the hotel developments. This neighborhood has a mix of homeowner and rental occupancy.  It also has a higher percentage of elderly and minority population than other neighborhoods in Clarksville. Over time, the residential lots in this neighborhood have been purchased by a few investors with the intent of this area to transition to commercial. However, some of the residents who still own their property and live in the neighborhood would like to see this neighborhood remain and efforts taken to stabilize the neighborhood so that it could be rebuilt to be a strong community again.

Decrease the amount of pavement in the area. Within the study area, approximately 78 percent of the land area is covered by either buildings (16%) or parking lots (62%). This is due too the two regional malls, several strip centers, and big box stores, which require a high ratio of parking. While these parking lots were busy in the past on weekends and holidays.  With the shifts in retail trends to less brick and mortar stores and more online shopping, much of this existing parking is now unnecessary. Parking also adds to the maintenance costs of property owners. The vast amounts of pavement in this area has increased runoff and thereby caused local flooding issues. It also causes heat islands, affecting the microclimate and raising the temperature in Central Clarksville. It is an underutilized space. The design for future parking lots and requirements are changing with less parking required and better integration within a development so that every business has equitable access. Additionally, different types of parking solutions are offered in developments including on-street parking, shared parking, rideshare drop off/pick up points, and eventually driverless docking space.

No walkability or connection to neighborhoods. When the Central Clarksville retail area was developed, access to Lewis and Clark Parkway and other areas of Clarksville were limited. Through connections were ended. Very few north and south roads connected existed except for Blackiston Mill Road, Lynch Road, and Greentree Boulevard. Additionally, few of the northern neighborhoods had good sidewalks for people to walk to the area. This means that pedestrian and cyclist access and safety to Greentree or River Falls Mall, was not as much as option as driving.  Today, residents of these neighborhoods complain about the amount of traffic on Veterans Parkway during peak times of the day. Creating more connections in the street grid would increase connectivity throughout the area potentially addressing some of the congestion on Veterans Parkway. Sidewalks adds connectivity by providing safe access by means other than a vehicle. Sidewalks and multi-use paths allow for people to walk from place to place safely while providing an opportunity to connect to other regional trails and amenities which increases the economic value of properties and the overall health and quality of life in a community.

No authenticity, identity, or inspiration on the most historic and iconic roadway Lewis and Clark Parkway. While this site is a successful commercial core, its age, design, layout, and the changing retail trends have left a void within the heart of the community. Even in its prime, as residents, workers, and passersby travelled through the corridor, there was nothing to attract attention or to tell a driver something unique about Clarksville. The corridor looked like every other retail corridor in anywhere USA. As commercial development built out on Veterans Parkway, tenants move where the cars went, and the Lewis and Clark Parkway continued to remain the same. There is a lack of identity to anything in this area, and Lewis and Clark Parkway, Greentree Boulevard, and Veterans Parkway are primarily streets used to connect someone from New Albany to Clarksville and Jeffersonville. As the redevelopment process begins, an opportunity exists to look at the history and the natural beauty of the environment in the area and develop an identity that would make Central Clarksville significant to the community, draw people to the area, and create inspiration as workers start their workday.

Diversify the land uses. Central Clarksville was developed with predominately one use, retail. As history has shown for most communities, when a significant amount of land is devoted to a single use such as retail, manufacturing, or other industry, when it changes, it can devastate a community. Today’s best practices in planning show that many developments and neighborhoods are more economically successful if they have a mix of uses in an area. This can be in the form of a mixed use building, or a mixed use development. Given that there is over 600 acres in this site, and it’s the only remaining area in the town that can be redeveloped, careful consideration should be given to maximizing and encouraging development potential.

The vision for Central Clarksville describes the future state when the area has been fully redeveloped.  The vision is purposefully broad to illustrate the transformation of Central Clarksville into a dynamic center of culture, commerce, and community.  As government, philanthropic, civic, and other partners work together to make significant social and capital investments, it spur on private investment which will increase the create a vitality to Central Clarksville, enhance the quality of place and life, and raise property values, wages, and the overall tax base.

There are many attributes that communities need to make a place succeed.  During the initial phases of Discovery and Visioning when the physical conditions, market data, and community input had been collected and analyzed, there were four main outcomes that emerged – Soul and Identity, Economic Resilience, Environment, and Quality of Place.  Together, investments in these four outcomes will be aligned to tangibly elevate people, institutions, businesses, and places at the heart of Central Clarksville.

Soul & Identity

Central Clarksville is the heart of the Town that visually and mobility-wise connects the surrounding neighborhoods to a bustling core of activity.  Central Clarksville is a mixed used destination where people live, work, shop, and play.  The layout of street, building design, and integration of open space and plazas is a unique gem in southern Indiana.  The iconic gateway structures pay homage to Lewis and Clark as visitors and residents enter and exit Clarksville.

Economic Resilience

Clarksville has a strong tax base due to a mix of employment uses in Central Clarksville.  The multistory buildings in Central Clarksville can accommodate flex, manufacturing, commercial, and office space on the ground floor.  Central Clarksville is no longer just a commercial core it is home to service-based businesses, entrepreneurial type businesses, and fosters the development of emerging clusters of industries that build on the regions’ competitive strengths. Partnerships between public, private, and non-profit partners broaden business retention and expansion that diversifies the tax base and continues to bring new businesses into Central Clarksville for people to live and work in Town.

Environment

Central Clarksville, as the heart of the Town, is the connector to the natural environment including the Ohio River and Silver Creek.  Intertwined throughout, is a linear greenway looped system that connects public spaces and plazas to neighborhoods and mixed use areas.  The use of natural systems including green infrastructure, landscape, and water features have lessened flooding, storm water runoff, and heat island effects. This amenity infrastructure now replaces the previous impervious pavement which have significantly increased property values and made this a place where everyone wants to be.

Quality of Place

Central Clarksville is a thriving, walkable, pedestrian oriented vibrant mixed use core that is organized around nodes of activity that draws people to the area. This area is a unique mix of compatible and supportive retail, restaurants, recreation, employment, hospitality, civic, institutional businesses and has a variety of types of housing to meet the demands of the region. A series of parks, public  spaces, and loop trails connect neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, activities, playgrounds, the library, and schools. 

Market Analysis

Louisville Region:

The Town of Clarksville is a part of the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Louisville MSA has been a growing and leading market in the Ohio River region as evidenced by the MSA’s average annual population and job growth rate outpacing neighboring Cincinnati and Evansville MSAs’ between 2010 and 2017. The Louisville MSA added over 85,000 new jobs and 43,000 new residents in that same time, but rates of job growth between 2017 and 2018 have slowed below the national trend. However, since job growth has been faster than population growth over the last decade, the Louisville MSA’s 3.8% unemployment rate is closely aligned with the national trend (3.7%) recovering to levels below pre-recession figures.  In addition, median household income is 4% higher than the US median and rates of growth since 2010 have been larger than the national trend.

While all three MSA’s have seen growth since 2010, all face challenges of an aging population that is older than the national median age by 2 years with Louisville and Cincinnati’s populations aging faster than the national trend.

Between 2010 and 2017 Louisville’s job growth outpaced its Ohio River MSA peers and the nation; however, growth has slowed at a rate trailing the national trend. In addition, Louisville has a higher median household income than the nation and its median household income grew faster than its peers and the country at 1.9 percent annually.

Within the Louisville MSA, annual population growth rates have been falling in the Kentucky counties surrounding Jefferson County. Meanwhile, the Indiana counties have added 29,800 residents since 2000, maintaining their MSA share of population as well as housing units. More recently, the Indiana counties have seen a 1% loss in share of households and jobs (since 2010). However, the Kentucky side of the river has a higher median household income and home value compared to the Indiana counties within the MSA.

Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the rate of return that would be required for an investment to grow from its beginning balance to its ending balance, assuming the profits were reinvested at the end of each year of the investment’s lifespan.
Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the rate of return that would be required for an investment to grow from its beginning balance to its ending balance, assuming the profits were reinvested at the end of each year of the investment’s lifespan.

Clark County:

The Indiana counties had been maintaining their MSA share of population up until 2010. With Kentucky counties growing at faster rates since 2010, the Indiana counties have begun to lose share. Clark County has held its position as the second largest county in terms of people and jobs in the MSA after Jefferson County, KY (Louisville), with job growth also outpacing population growth. All the MSA counties outside of Jefferson County are bedroom communities (less than 35 percent of the labor force live and work in the same county). However, the Kentucky counties are more affluent with higher median household incomes and home values, but the jobs they do have are lower paying.

At 9 percent of the MSA, Clark County has the second largest population, housing, and job market share, all of which are growing either in line with or faster than the national average. More workers are commuting into Clarksville than residents who leave for employment elsewhere. Therefore, since 2000, Clark County has sustained its position within the MSA compared to residents, jobs, employed labor force, households, and housing units.

In general, Indiana counties’ real estate is priced at a larger discount to the national median than the Kentucky counties in the MSA. The U.S. median home value is 3.4 times the U.S. median household income. In the Louisville MSA, home values are only 2.7 times the median household income.

Homes in the Indiana counties are priced 26 percent below the national expected value compared to the Kentucky counties smaller 18 percent discount. Jefferson County’s home value to income ratio is the closest to the national proportion resulting in just a 9 percent discount.

Clark County has the fourth lowest median household income and the third lowest median home value in the MSA, resulting in home values being only 2.5 times household income. Therefore, homes are priced at one of the largest discounts in the MSA (26%) with only two counties having higher discounts.

Clarksville:

Clarksville’s population has remained relatively constant since 2000, while annual population growth in Clark County has been concentrated north and east of Clarksville. Clarksville remains one of the largest towns in the county, second only to Jeffersonville. With the growth happening outside of Clarksville, the town has lost county share of population, households, and housing units since 2000. Clarksville also has the fastest aging population, a growing share of non-family households, and the oldest housing stock in the county.

Clarksville’s shrinking number of households and household size is coupled with the oldest population in the county and a median age older than the nation and the MSA. Like population, Clarksville has the second largest housing market after Jeffersonville, but towns smaller than Clarksville, including Sellersburg and Charlestown, added more housing units between 2010 and 2017. In comparison to its neighboring towns in Clark County, Clarksville has the oldest housing market. Over 75 percent of its structures are over 40 years old. With  stagnant population growth, smaller than average household size, a growing number of non-family households, and the oldest median age in the county, Clarksville’s housing stock is not attracting young families with children, or adults aged 24 – 29 years old. Clarksville has one of the lower valued housing markets in the county and MSA. However, having one of the highest income-to-home value ratios in the county, new construction home values replacing aging housing stock has the potential to raise home values.

Regarding employment, Clarksville and its neighbors, Jeffersonville and New Albany, deviate from their region trend by having a net inflow of people. This means more workers travel into town for work than residents who travel out. While Jeffersonville and New Albany see a greater proportion of residents who also work in each respective community, all three communities experience less than half of their resident populations also working within the city/town, indicating they are bedroom communities to Louisville.

Clarksville has the second largest job market in the county, providing 25% of the county’s jobs. However, Jeffersonville is outpacing Clarksville in job growth causing Clarksville’s share of county jobs to decline. Since Clarksville’s annual job market growth is larger than its population and housing unit growth, Clarksville’s aging housing stock is likely contributing to an inability to retain employees and residents at higher rates.

Clarksville has over 5.4 million square feet of building space for retail, office, and commercial uses in its core. Nearly 38% of Clarksville’s retail space is over 40 years old, and higher vacancies are seen in the older spaces. In fact, approximately 50% of the study area buildings are over 40 years old, with 37% of those 40-year-old buildings vacant.

Some of this increased vacancy is likely a result of changes to the retail landscape. In 2009, there was a significant decline in shopping and visiting restaurants. Recovery has been slow and shopping at department stores, big box specialty stores, and superstores might not ever get back to where they were in the early 1990s given the increase in online retail spending. Online shopping has transformed the commercial industry leaving a large footprint behind to be filled with new, innovative ways to replace businesses no longer there.

Guiding Principles

The Catapult Central Clarksville Master Plan development concepts are organized around a series of industry accepted design principles that are based on the existing conditions, site opportunities and challenges, and community input.

Encourage Connectivity:  Creating simple connections within surrounding neighborhood to Central Clarksville supports increased accessibility for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and drivers.  An opportunity exists to return to a connected street system, where the grid streets of the neighborhood are connected through Central Clarksville creating greater access and re-establishing the grid system which promotes scalable, pedestrian friendly, walkable blocks.  Additionally, the street network within Central Clarksville can be designed to implement Clarksville’s complete streets policy with facilities for pedestrians, bicycles, and buses, as well as vehicles.

Increase the Amount of Green Space:  Throughout Clarksville, there are significant natural resources surrounding the Town with the Ohio River to the south and Silver Creek running through the west of Town.  Silver Creek is just northwest of Central Clarksville and a tremendous opportunity exists to connect this natural feature into the heart of the area, thereby, increasing green space, bringing about a natural element to the area, and significantly decreasing the amount of paved surface that currently exists. This linear greenway can link parks, public gathering spaces, people, and destinations and is essential to the health of residents and the physical environment. 

Establish Central Clarksville as a Place:  Adding the right elements to a development that draws people into a large area is critical to help spur economic development.  It often is a catalytic project or development promotes redevelopment.  The project serves as a destination piece.  It can be a small development or large.  Typically, it is developed around a common theme, an activity, or a historic element in the community.  Usually there are four components to the development including an initial draw of a built attraction that serves as a focus such as entertainment, shopping, or culture like a museum.  The second component is food related which could be temporary such as food trucks, seasonal farmers market, or permanent such as a restaurant.  The third component is usually either hospitality such as a hotel or other supporting components such as iconic structures or natural assets including a park, public space or water element like a splash pad.  The last component is year-round programming. All these things together make a success place and therefore destination.

Incorporate Amenity Infrastructure: Communities that promote a high quality of life offer a multitude of services and intangibles to their residents. One of the intangibles is amenity infrastructure which includes parks, trails, sidewalks, community gathering spaces, dog park, amphitheaters, etc.  All these items draw people into the area, attract businesses, increase the quality of life, and increase property values. With the amount of pavement that is present in Central Clarksville, and the vast natural features nestled just beyond the area, an opportunity exists to provide physical and visual connections to this amenity that could address other quantifiable issues such as drainage problems, flooding, and safety.

Cultivate Green Infrastructure Solutions:  Using the natural systems in Clarksville, green infrastructure systems can be one of the solutions to address storm water drainage and address flooding issues.  Green infrastructure can function across many properties and be at different scales.  Planning and designing it into the development pattern prior to redevelopment will be key so that it is part of the framework.

Increase Mixed Use Development:  With the changing markets, single use developments are changing.  Mixed-use developments including commercial, office, residential, and recreational are now more commonplace so one can work, shop, live, and play all in one place.  This increases activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Organizing elements such as streets and buildings allow much easier design of mixed use developments that are multiple story and can serve many different types of uses and users.  A mixed land use approach allows the Town to focus on attracting talent and businesses to locate in developments that are walkable, easy to maintain, and provide easy access to retail, office, or services with even faster access to a larger region. 

Foster Diversity of Housing:  Clarksville housing stock is older with a significant amount predating 1980 and on average it is about ten percent smaller than houses in the region.  What this means is that there is very little housing diversity and likely not the size or amenities families are looking for when moving to an area.  Therefore, different types of housing are needed in Clarksville to attract a variety of people to the Town while allowing others to age in place.  There are a number of neighborhoods surrounding Central Clarksville, with the amount of available land to be redeveloped, an opportunity exists to incorporate a variety of housing types, sizes, shapes, values, and at various densities to make successful transition between more intense uses and the adjacent single family residential neighborhoods.  This diversity of housing would support people of all ages, income, cultures, and races.

Promote Economic Resilience:  The Lewis and Clark Corridor once was the preeminent commercial corridor for the Town.  With a four-lane corridor connecting to I-65 and two major shopping malls, this was the destination that the region came to.  With the changing trends in retail, the changes in rent, and the changes in design and development, tenants moved to the next hottest area in the community leaving behind old strip centers and in in Clarksville’s case, River Falls Mall.  No community can have a corridor completely devoted to one type of use, especially commercial.  To truly have economic resilience, the Town needs to ensure that Central Clarksville has a diverse mix of uses that is different from other areas in Town.   This will ensure that Central Clarksville does not compete for development, pulling revitalization from other areas.  Additionally, with the location of Central Clarksville, attracting employment uses and supporting services will enhance the tax base and help the Town even out the economic shifts that happen over time. 

Development Program

To transform this over-retailed area and change the development pattern there are many factors to be considered.  The existing conditions physically on the ground including the number, type and condition of structures, the current and future market demand, the types of uses present, the targeted uses being marketed by the Town, inclusion of residential, building and street layout all influence the vision, development program, and design.  To carry out this vision described above, assumptions are made of buildings that were nearing the end of their useful life, buildings that could be rehabilitated, and others that would be demolished.  From this information a preliminary development program was created that guides the generation of the concepts based on what the regional market would bear for redevelopment over multiple decades.

The preliminary program is broken down into a conservative and aggressive approach.  It is a range in which the market could potentially absorb, or owners could successfully lease the supply of square feet based on the demand.  The preliminary program is at a very high level for concept generation.  There are three subcategories including commercial, hospitality, and housing.  Each of those subcategories could be further broken down into sub-subcategories and the definitions of all those are below.

Commercial:

Retail/Food Service/Entertainment: The Commercial area designation is intended for activity centers including office, retail, hospitality, restaurants, and professional service businesses. These areas have the potential to be employment and tax revenue generators for the community.

Pedestrian oriented retail and mixed use areas contain a mix of active uses that serve surrounding residential concentrations.  These centers should be compatible with and contribute to neighborhood character and livability. They should be defined by building frontages and an activated street, not by parking lots.  Retail and mixed use areas should be pedestrian-friendly places with high-quality architecture, plazas, outdoor dining, sidewalks, and other pedestrian and bicycle amenities that create active, connected gathering places.  Buildings should be arranged so that they frame and define the street network; internal drives should resemble streets rather than parking lot drive aisles. Outdoor seating and landscape plantings should be used to create more attractive developments and buffer adjacent residential areas.  A coordinated pedestrian system should be provided throughout the retail area, connecting uses on the site and between the site and adjacent properties.

Entertainment retail is designed to accommodate a range of potential entertainment, recreation, and retail activities. These uses may include open air attractions with limited or small building forms or may be larger footprint structures for indoor recreation and entertainment.  A defining characteristic of this area is that customers will plan a special trip there and the overall concept is the experience as opposed to shopping for a particular good.  Generally, consumers are willing to travel longer distances to destination commercial centers and will spend longer periods of time there.  Additionally, office uses may be present as well as support services such as restaurants and bars. This area benefits from high visibility along I-65, and as such, quality design facing the interstate is important.  The design of development in this area should accentuate regional character, include amenities for pedestrians, and promote connections to adjacent development.

Mixed Use:  Mixed Use areas provide for a diverse combination of high-activity uses within a connected and walkable block layout.  These areas may be characterized by individual buildings that contain a mixture of uses or by single use buildings that contain different uses in close proximity to each other. Appropriate uses include restaurants, small-scale retail and professional services, offices, multifamily apartments and condominiums, townhomes, and recreation amenities. Building height should typically range from two to four stories, with active commercial uses on the first floor and office or residential uses on upper floors.  Mixed use centers should have coordinated development patterns at a pedestrian scale, with high-quality architecture, plazas, sidewalks, and pedestrian and bicycle amenities to activate the street and connect these centers to the residential neighborhoods they support. Building setbacks from the primary street should be minimal.  All buildings should have an entry oriented toward the primary street; first floor non-residential uses should include large windows to allow views into and out of the space to better activate the adjacent streetscape.

Office/Flex:  Office and flex areas are for uses including office, research and development, small-scale prototyping, and institutional uses. Building types may include both large footprint users with multi-story buildings on large parcels or groups of smaller structures in a business park setting. Research and development and small-scale prototyping uses should conduct all operations within an enclosed building and should not use extensive outdoor storage areas or operations.  When potential conflicts between uses may occur, buffering and landscaping should be used to minimize these impacts.  Flex areas may include limited commercial support uses such as restaurants and personal service businesses, but these should be as a secondary element that follows the office development.

Hospitality:  Hospitality classification is intended for uses such as hotels, motels, event centers, restaurants associated with hotels.  It can also be used in combination with the retail, mixed use, and entertainment sub-subcategories of the commercial use.  Building types are typically multiple stories, large footprints, located near I-65 for easy access.  Parking should be minimized or shared with other uses, if possible.  Best if located or developed adjacent other commercial or residential uses due to similar characteristics.  This category should be limited the market can only bear so much with Louisville nearby.

Housing:

The following housing types should be considered throughout the entire Central Clarksville Redevelopment.  The most successful residential components are when they are in mixed residential developments and designed around natural features to highlight natural features such as ponds, landscape, and water features, as accessible community amenities. Parks, schools, religious institutions, and other community facilities may be included in the mixed density residential areas at appropriate locations.

Multi-Family:   Multi-family housing can include triplex, quadplex, live/work, and apartments. This are typically found in mixed use developments on the second or third stories of office or retail developments.  These will be proper at certain locations given surrounding development patterns and the nearby transportation system.  These areas should be developed in a walkable and connected grid pattern to reinforce traditional neighborhood design. Infill and redevelopment should keep the traditional residential character; architecture, building setbacks, housing types, and massing are important components of infill design.

Single Family Attached: The Single Family attached classification is intended for a range of attached single family housing types including townhomes, apartment style condo’s, and duplexes style attached buildings.  Densities and housing types may vary but should always consider surrounding character; more dense portions of a development should scale down to reflect adjacent context.  These areas allow for greater flexibility in form and scale to achieve active, cohesive, and vibrant neighborhoods.

Single Family Detached:  The Single-Family detached classification is designed primarily for individual single family homes of varying lot and dwelling sizes.  The defined character may vary by neighborhood, but new developments should include a transition or landscape buffer from the existing development patterns in adjacent neighborhoods. New neighborhoods should have walkable, well-connected street systems that connect to surrounding neighborhoods and nearby destinations. They should be designed around natural features to highlight landscape, public plazas, places, ponds, and water courses as accessible community amenities. Parks, schools, religious institutions, and other community facilities may be included in the single family detached classification at appropriate locations.

The following chart indicates the preliminary development program for Central Clarksville (use the one from the vision workshop presentation page 14)

Design Framework

To formulate the design, the drives redevelopment the vision and design principles are established that provide guidance on the type of redevelopment that is desired in the future.  To achieve that and develop each concept, a design framework is created that provides the physical organization of the study area to guide the overall development of each concept.

The three main organizational themes included a complete streets network, the creation of resilient development patterns, and access to public amenities.

Complete Streets Network

The existing roadway network has only 7.6 miles of public road. The development of Central Clarksville limited the extension of roads northwest of Veterans and Lewis and Clark Parkway to connect to the south side of Clarksville limiting access for both vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. 

When comparing the study area to a square mile in New Albany and Jeffersonville, visually, New Albany and Jeffersonville are clearly more walkable due to the higher number of roads which make smaller blocks. To create these more human-scaled blocks in Central Clarksville, the extension of the traditional street grid is necessary and becomes an organizational feature that sets the framework for pedestrian scaled development.  This, along with streets that are designed for all modes, will create a safer environment for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. A complete streets framework, which adds 19.5 miles of public roads, will not only increase access throughout Central Clarksville, but it will also create streets that are beautiful places.

Resilient Development Pattern

The diagram shown below (middle image) has the buildings in the study area colored in black.  The development pattern of the existing study area is predominately a single use – commercial.  This is not surprising when 80 percent of the study area is zoned commercial. Currently, the Town’s zoning ordinance requires a number of parking spaces per building square foot of commercial area, which is one cause of the vast amount of pavement in Central Clarksville.  Of all the buildings in the study area, 24 percent of them are vacant, while still other spaces within buildings are up for lease. 

For communities to survive shifts in the economy, diversity is needed in land use. This diversity helps the Town weather economic shifts.  In the last five to ten years, the commercial market has shifted.  Many brick and mortar commercial stores are closing, some permanently, while others are moving to an online presence to compete with amazon.  Integrating other uses such as new housing options like row houses, apartments, and duplexes, provides different price points and product into a market that has mostly detached single family.  Different housing options also mean different options regarding block arrangements and multiple stories which allow more compact, walkable development.  This allows for parking to be tucked behind buildings to limit visibility and allow for more amenities like plazas and gathering spaces.

Access to Public Amenities

When creating a destination, you want to create a place where people want to be.  Members of the public described Central Clarksville as lacking an identity and like any other community next to an interstate.  Central Clarksville does not have many amenities right now. 

With the street patterns and blocks creating the framework for the new development pattern, layering on public amenities will establish Central Clarksville as a quality place which will increase the quality of life of residents, attract businesses and residents, and increase property values. 

There are many ingredients that go into making a quality place.   A mix of uses, quality public space, broad-band enabled, multiple transportation options to and from the area, multiple housing options integrated into the development, art and programming, element of recreation, greenway or greenspace, and linkages to nature or the environment. The key is making sure amenities are connected to residential areas and key commercial, employment, and civic nodes.

Design Concepts

The design team has created two preliminary concepts for the 3C Master Plan. Both concepts are based on the previously discussed vision and guiding framework and subsequently share many characteristics. The concepts vary regarding incorporation of existing developments into the long-range redevelopment plan, organization of green spaces, and both residential and commercial development types and mixes. Each concept is presented in more detail below.

Concept 1

Concept 1 is a long-term vision focused on the ideas of mixed-use, walkability, compact development, and increased green and public spaces. Concept 1 is organized around a new commercial core, central plaza, and signature park in the area north of the intersection of Lewis and Clark Parkway and Greentree Boulevard. Both Lewis and Clark Parkway and Greentree Boulevard are envisioned as walkable, mixed use corridors that feature a diverse array of businesses, enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and coordinated landscapes along the roadway.    This concept is further defined by a range of dwelling types, intermixed to create diverse neighborhoods. The design intent and key themes present in Concept 1 include:

  • Re-imaging of the district away from large, regional malls.
  • Place-based commercial district built around new signature plaza and park.
  • Mixing of housing types to create diverse blocks and neighborhoods.
  • Continued hospitality development along the interstate.
  • Greenway loops to connect neighborhoods, retail and employment centers, and existing and new parks and public spaces.

The central intersection of Lewis and Clark Parkway and Green Tree Boulevard is envisioned with buildings pulled up to the corners to create an entirely different development feel than what is there today.  This development pattern is characterized by smaller blocks, taller buildings, and reduced setbacks so buildings are closer to the street.  Parking is tucked behind the buildings to minimize its visual impact on the district.  Lewis and Clark Parkway and Green Tree Boulevard have facilities and amenities so that bicyclists and pedestrians can safely ride along and cross these thoroughfares.

There is also a signature grand park just south of Madison Street flanked by a retail/mixed use building that is oriented towards Green Tree Boulevard.  This park would be programmed for year-round activity and use.

South of Lewis and Clark Parkway is a new Discovery Trail neighborhood, designed to be a higher density, townhouse development built along the linear greenspace of Lewis and Clark Promenade. The greenspace serves as a park area but also a stormwater boulevard that catches runoff.  The townhomes have access to the Discovery Trail, the nearby Goodwill Children’s Learning Center, and Ray Lawrence Park.

Additionally, single family residential neighborhoods are proposed along Ryan Lane and areas further south of Kroger.  These areas could include smaller lot housing, townhouses, attached single family houses, and mixed use development at key locations.  There would also be improvements to the Jeffersonville Township public library to accommodate the planned residential growth.

This street captures the character of retail businesses on the first floor and offices on the upper floors.

Concept 2

Concept 2 is organized around the continued success of portions of both Green Tree and River Falls malls. These developments would be supported by mixed use infill projects along Green Tree Boulevard and Lewis and Clark Parkway, as well as significant office space development between Green Tree Boulevard and the interstate. Central to the area and between the mall developments would be a new hospitality-focused district with hotels, a conference center, and signature public space. The design intent and key themes present in Concept 2 include:

  • Enhance portions of both malls to ensure continued success of these anchors of the area.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian promenade to improve underutilized space south of Lewis and Clark Parkway with connections to Discovery Trail.
  • Enhanced focus on office/employment spaces.
  • Hospitality district with hotels, conference center, and public gathering space.
  • Multiple housing types but greater consistency on a block-by-block basis.

In this concept, the Bass Pro Shop remains.  A hotel with a restaurant and meeting space is located north of Madison Street.  Single Family residential neighborhoods are built adjacent to the Lincoln Park neighborhood to revitalize and strengthen it. 

The area west of I-65 and south of Lewis and Clark Parkway is proposed to be an office and flex space district.  This could be used to house a maker’s space, brewery, or small-scale manufacturing or prototyping businesses.

Additionally, the single family residential neighborhoods proposed for Concept 1 are duplicated in Concept 2 for Ryan Lane and areas further south of Kroger.  These areas can support smaller lot housing, townhouses, attached single family houses, and associated mixed use projects.  There would also be improvements to the Jeffersonville Township public library to accommodate the planned residential growth.

Roadway Network

A complete streets network is one of the main concepts of this plan. Complete streets are streets that allow for multiple modes of transportation to be used on them at the same time.  One of the immediate issues that was noticeable was the lack of street connections and access through throughout the area.  Even on foot, Central Clarksville seemed massive, not walkable, and not safe. 

To change that, the existing street patterned was studied, including traffic counts, and future improvements.  To increase access, the extensions of Broadway Street, Greentree Boulevard, Blackiston Mill Road, and Eastern Boulevard across Lewis and Clark Boulevard are needed. Then cross access perpendicular to I-65 could connect those roadways, re-establishing the traditional grid which institutes more pedestrian-scaled, walkable blocks. 

Sketch of potential intersection of Lewis and Clark Parkway and Greentree Boulevard at full build out.
Complete street implementation. Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Downtown Indianapolis. One travel lane taken out and other lanes narrowed to 10-feet in width to accommodate cycling and pedestrian urban trail.
Reimagined cross section for Lewis and Clark Parkway supports a 10-foot multi-surface separated walking path; and 11-foot separated bike path on one side. The other side would replace the 11-foot bike path with a 10-foot bus stop. Four travel lanes on Lewis and Clark Parkway, but only 11-feet wide with a 11-foot bus pull off.
This image is an aerial view of what the new Lewis and Clark Parkway redesigned would look like.
Reimagined cross section of Greentree Boulevard supports a10-foot multi-surface separated walking path; and 11-foot separated bike path on one side. The other side would only have a six-foot separated walking path. There would be four 11-foot travel lanes, with two, eight-foot parking lanes.
This image is an aerial view of what the new Greentree Boulevard redesigned would look like.

Gateway Treatment

Gateways are key entrances into a community, an area, or a district.  They have special markers, structures, or signs which call attention to an area.  Typically communities who want to call attention to a special area in their community often use additional elements such as limiting land use at the entry point of the district, special signage, elaborate aesthetic treatments, specially designed monuments, etc.  What should be noted is that not all gateway points should be addressed in an identical manner, because not all gateway areas have the same significance.  For example, Central Clarksville has at least two major entry points into the area – one at each end of the Lewis and Clark Parkway.  The one near I-65 might include a larger monument or structure so that it can be seen from the highway, while the one located near Grand Park, may be a more natural piece designed with landscape.  Below are some examples of constructed works and some ideas from the visioning workshop.

Contact Information

Rundell Ernstberger Associates

  • (317) 263 0127
  • Cynthia Bowen
    cbowen@reasite.com
  • Catherine Kazmierczak
    ckazmierczak@reasite.com
  • 618 East Market Street
    Indianapolis, Indiana 46202

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Rundell Ernstberger Associates