Let me tell you about a city named Clarksville. Clarksville is a medium-sized city in Tennessee. It sits on the border of Kentucky. The government of this city has coined it "The Gateway to the New South". Currently, this city is my home.
I suppose the nickname comes from the fact that a person traveling from a northern state to a southern state would probably drive through Clarksville (via I-24) to get there. This may be true, but I would certainly like to think that Clarksville has more to offer than a convenient stretch of interstate.
So what does Clarksville have going for it? Not a whole lot.
Basically, there are 2 reasons for a person to live in Clarksville. One being Fort Campbell, the other being Austin Peay State University.
Fort Campbell is an army base that actually resides in Kentucky, but stretches across the border and oozes into Clarksville from the north. I use the term "ooze" because that is actually how I feel about the place.
The base has brought quite a bit of growth and business to Clarksville, however this blessing has brought many curses with it as well. Along with a boosted economy, the base has injected a large number of wild-ass, transient, sex-crazed, unaccountable, untouchable soldiers. In my life I've known lots of very good people who were in the military. My father was in the military. But the vast majority of the soldiers I have known are good for nothing except impregnating girls, and killing themselves or others via drunk driving. I would say a good half of the girls I knew in high school either gave birth to, or aborted a baby from a military guy. And more often than not, the father was reassigned and out of the mother's life within a year. As a result, if you are actually lucky enough to meet a girl from Clarksville who is between 20 and 25, single, never been married and has no children, chances are she is a lesbian. after being treated poorly by one soldier after another, the girls in Clarksville tend to assume all men as asses, and assume that any man who does not treat you poorly is being sneaky and should not be trusted. Dating in Clarksville is hell.
The university is the other reason to live in Clarksville. I would'nt call APSU a bad college. But its not particularly great either. It is relatively inexpensive. And it has the benefit of being a small school, so there is a better teacher/student ratio. Actually, as far as education goes I suppose its a good school. The faculty seems to be concerned with the student's learning and succeeding. But after 5 years of attending, all I really have to show for it is a diploma. I know thats the reason I went to school, but it seems like there should have been more of a "college experience". Basically, APSU becomes a ghost town by 5 o'clock. It is not the sort of school you go to to make lifelong memories. It is a business that provides the service of education. End of story.
As far as the actual city itself, its not bad. It is not hard to find peace and quiet. There are several rural areas very near Clarksville. However, there is a lot of growth going on. Which means never-ending construction. Constant road-widening. Apartment buildings and houses thrown together hurriedly and crammed into every free foot of land. Projections say that Clarksville will merge with Nashville within 20 years. That seems a bit drastic, but not impossible. In the past 10 years it seems like Clarksville has doubled in size and shows no signs of slowing. I suppose that is the way things go with a city though. You either grow and try to thrive, or you die.
Personally, I am moving to Nashville very soon. I look forward to the change. I dont think Nashville is a perfect city, but it will be nice to live someplace with a pulse. A city that is a destination rather than a gateway.