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Clarksville eyes ways to halt rowdy behavior

SoVaNow.com / January 15, 2014
Once again, Clarksville Town Council is mulling ways to curb trouble from renters at the Clarksville Community Center. Council members heard at their Tuesday night meeting that for the second time in less than a year, police were called in to end a disturbance, which involved gunshots being fired, when a recent party at the Clarksville Community Center got out of hand.

In both instances, the person who rented the facility was from Halifax County. The renter had no apparent ties to Clarksville.

This prompted Council member Carolyn Hite to suggest that anyone seeking to lease the community center must either be a resident of the town or get a resident of the town to sign onto the rental agreement, and be held equally responsible for the property.

According to a report that acting police chief Bobby Boring provided to town manager Jeff Jones, the problem began around 11:20 p.m. when Boring responded to a complaint of loud music at the Community Center. According to the rental agreement signed when the center was leased, all music must stop at 11 p.m. Boring said the party appeared to be breaking up after he notified the group that they were in violation of the contract.

Boring then left the scene to respond to a second disturbance, this one a fight outside the Pizza Pub restaurant on Virginia Avenue. While en route to the Pizza Pub, Boring was called back to the Community Center, this time for a complaint that people were fighting in the parking lot. Boring called for backup from both the Virginia State Police and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. Before they arrived, he attempted to disperse the crowd by spraying those who were fighting with pepper spray.

Later, while inspecting the community center, Jones said workers found a hole punched in the wall near the bathroom door, footprints and marks on several of the walls throughout the building. In addition, soft drinks and $85.50 in cash were taken from the kitchen. Both the money and the drinks belonged to the Clarksville Ruritans.

The cost to clean-up and repair the damage, Jones said, was $518.90.

Jones assured members of Council that the renter’s deposit was kept by the town and that an invoice for the remainder of the costs and the theft was billed to the renter. He and his staff are again reviewing renting procedures and consider various options. A few of the ideas they are looking into include:

Requiring paid security for events at the Community Center;

Requiring renters to obtain insurance for each event, with the town as the loss payee;

Imposing fines and penalties against the renter if the police have to respond to a disturbance at the facility;

Performing a background check on all renters before the event;

Installing security cameras in and around the facility

After hearing that the town was about to begin interviews to hire a new police officer, Council member Glen Jurczyk asked whether the town’s police department isn’t already over-staffed. He cited the size of the police departments in surrounding towns as proof that Clarksville probably had more than enough officers on staff. Jones agreed to look into the matter.

The town held a public hearing on Monday to receive comments on the proposed interim zoning for the newly annexed property. The Planning Commission recommended that all property in Area C located on Old Rock Road, Ballou Street, Mill Village Circle, Pointe Place, Cozy Cabin, and Stripers Cove would receive an R-1 classification. The former site of Burlington Industries, which is also located in Area C, would be zoned I-1.

The property in Area A on Business 58, and those on Jackson Drive, Stuart Drive and current business properties located on Old Buffalo Road would be zoned B-1. The current zoning in Areas B1 and B2, which includes properties located on US 58 Bypass near Shiney Rock Road, and on the east side of Highway 15 South around Highway 58 Bypass would keep their B-1 zoning.

Bids for the renovation and addition to the Clarksville Area Public Library will be opened on February 6 at 2:00 p.m. The contract documents can be examined at the offices of Dewberry & Davis in Danville, at McGraw Hill Construction on 9 North Third Street in Richmond, Builders Exchange in Richmond and Valley Construction News, 356 Campbell Ave. in Roanoke.

Work for the final phase of the downtown streetscape improvements, between 7th and 8th Streets in Clarksville was awarded to J. Harmon Saunders, the company which did the work earlier streetscape work.

Jones said repair work on the Wells Fargo Retaining Wall in downtown is nearly complete. The tie-back system is in place and the grading has been done. However, the brick work and the new sidewalks cannot take place until there is warmer and drier weather.

Finally, Jones said the number of complaints about buzzards destroying property in the area is on the rise. He asked officials with Virginia Wildlife, who have experience with buzzards, to offer solutions to the problem.

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