The City of Clarksville has been selected as one of three cities to win a spot in the Mayors Innovation Design Cohort. The Cohort is a national partnership between the American Institute of Architects and the Mayors Innovation Project to help build zero carbon, resilient, healthy, and equitable cities. Clarksville leadership will have the opportunity to address the climate crisis while creating equitable, inclusive public spaces.
“AIA is excited to work with three mayors in their cities on projects to make neighborhoods more equitable and resilient to climate change,” said 2021 AIA President Peter Exley, FAIA. “When architects work alongside city leaders to solve a reuse or retrofit challenge, the result can not only reduce environmental impact but equitably serve the surrounding community.”
The project submission that earned the City of Clarksville a spot in the Cohort is the Frosty Morn site located just outside the heart of Downtown Clarksville. The former meatpacking facility had sat dormant for decades and was in desperate need of repair. By thinking green, the City looked for ways to repurpose the facility that would ultimately be both economically and environmentally friendly.
The site has been a vision of revitalization for Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, Ward 6 Councilwoman Wanda Smith, and other prominent leaders for nearly a decade.
“The old Frosty Morn building has been an eyesore in the community for over 40 years,” stated Councilwoman Wanda Smith in a proposal letter to the Cohort. “My work, in collaboration with Mayor Joe Pitts and Housing & Community Development Director Dennis Newburn on the Frosty Morn Project has established a state-of-the-art plan for the low-income area that will uplift and restore the community's appearance. Further, we believe that the renovation of the old Frosty Morn building will be a treasure for the citizens, city and visitors. The renovated Frosty Morn building will provide many resources of amenities that will increase the value of the area/property, beautify the land/neighborhood, provide gainful employment, family entertainment and office space for small businesses.”
At its core, the retrofitted facility envisioned by Clarksville leadership would be a community space for small businesses, food trucks, and nonprofits to utilize along with a space to host events, gatherings, and more. Input from the community to help shape a vision for the space will be invited in the near future after the initial Cohort kickoff in September.
“Frosty Morn has been an iconic landmark in our community for as long as I can remember,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said. “Once known as an economic pillar of our community and its iconic smokestack that graced the Clarksville skyline, Frosty Morn is historic to Clarksville, and being selected for this award reinforces our goal to turn the page on a new chapter for this historic space that the Clarksville community can cherish for future generations.”
The City of Clarksville will receive technical assistance with final written recommendations from an architect, and up to $5,000 to cover necessary City staff time, inclusive engagement tools, and supplies. The Cohort project will kick off in September and last approximately six months.
“Mayors and their cities are on the front lines of many of today’s most pressing challenges,” said Katya Spear, Managing Director, MIP, “We’re delighted for this opportunity to support these cities around green design. Every city has vacant and underused spaces like the ones being featured in this project, and this effort will offer models that cities across the country can use.”
“The fact is, buildings create about 40% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, but architects can design them not to,” stated Exley. “By re-imagining an underused, vacant, or deteriorating building, these projects will help these cities address the urgent needs climate change presents.”
Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.
Based at the University of Wisconsin, the Mayors Innovation Project is a national learning network for mayors. They create spaces that are uniquely for mayors and city leaders through events, topic-specific cohorts, technical assistance and more.