Opening of downtown skating rink on hold

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Building & Codes rejects request for occupancy certificate

CLARKSVILLE: Don’t break out those ice skates just yet. Citing significant public safety deficiencies, the City of Clarksville has turned down an initial request for a temporary Certificate of Occupancy for the Downtown Commons project.

Montgomery County government, which is building the commons, announced Nov. 1 it planned to open a public skating rink on the property on Nov. 24, even though the site is still under construction.

The construction company and designers, operating on behalf of Montgomery County, submitted the temporary occupancy request to the Clarksville Building & Codes Department on Monday, along with sketches of a temporary fencing plan and a proposal to divide the construction project into two phases.

The request came after a meeting Friday at the site with Building & Codes and representatives of contractor B.R. Miller and Co. and designers Hodgson Douglas.

In a letter to B.R. Miller delivered on Tuesday, Mike Baker, director of Clarksville Building & Codes, said “there is not enough protection provided for segregation of the work site from the skating area and other areas to be used by the public prior to final completion of the work.”

“This is an active construction zone and an incomplete work site, which has the potential for increased injury and safety issues to the general public, including children, skaters and passersby,” the letter said. “Public safety is the only concern of the Building & Codes Department.”

Baker also wrote that his office would not consider the phasing request because “construction has already begun on the total project with ongoing inspections which have not been completed … for areas proposed for early occupancy.”

The letter also explains that the project was permitted under one construction permit, but original drawings submitted to Clarksville Building and Codes do not include the skating rink.  This additional temporary structure has not been reviewed for code compliance.

The letter invites the builder “to submit manufacturer’s specifications regarding occupancy load calculations, code compliant egress as well as structural integrity of the skating rink and all its components.”

The Clarksville City Council voted in 2015 to give nearly $1 million to Montgomery County government for the Civic Plaza project, estimated at the time to cost $4.2 million. It was later renamed Downtown Commons. However, because it is a county project, the City of Clarksville has not been involved in the planning, design, construction or management of the project.

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About Author

Christine Anne Piesyk has been a journalist for more than 45 years. Her credits include positions as Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Staff Writer specializing in education, leisure living, food and arts and entertainment. She was co-producer, writer and on air persona for the Entertainment Review for 25 years. In "retirement," she finds herself working on online websites and as a book editor. In her other life, she is a costumer in her daughter's company, Gemini Dream Designs.

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