Charleston annexation plans nixed by new law
by DELAYNEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
May 15, 2013 | 643 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Charleston Mayor Walter Goode announced Tuesday night the city could not continue proceedings in the city’s annexation at this time.

“A bill was passed that any annexation that was not fully vetted by April 15 would not be able to come through ... due to our 20-year growth plan running out,” Goode said. “Now what’s happened is some of the citizenry feels like mayors from some of the larger cities are cherry picking parts. ...Their representatives in the state chose to put a bill through which stopped that.”

Continued Goode, “Now, what I’m understanding is a citizen has a right to say whether he wants to be annexed into Charleston or Cleveland or whatever principalities are closest to him, if they feel like they want to. Now I am thinking that is the end of the annexation as we know it, unless we have something they want.”

According to Goode, the city’s annexation would have gone through except for a couple of roadblocks stalling the project a month at a time.

“The citizens in the area who we tried to annex, if any of them wish, if we have enough of them there who would like to petition themselves in, we can also have them to come in that way,” Goode said.

“We can also petition the County Commission to see if they would honor our annexation plans. We don’t know if we will take that route or not. We don’t know what would happen there.” 

Goode said he was sorry about the situation.

“It just kind of hurts from the effort that was put into it and the time we could have been pressing on to other things,” Goode said. “We could have devoted the time to other things.”

Approximately 272 residents would have been annexed into the city.

“Most of you were at the meeting when we had two people who were against, so I am saying we have 270 people who would like to have been in the city, but getting them to put their names on a piece of paper or getting someone to carry the piece of paper around is another task,” Goode said. “You may decide signing will create bad feelings between you and your neighbor ... I feel like it is their loss, not ours.” 

Caroline Geren, city manager, said park plans have been narrowed down to two general designs.

“If you don’t like one part of it, then we can take it off and add another,” Geren said as she passed down the plans to Commissioner Donna McDermott and Goode.

“Some of these I did not think would hold up. I did not think the kids would play with that much.”

Geren said there are some playground structures she has seen those ranging from children to teenagers enjoy.

“I told him we didn’t want ropes, because I don’t really trust things like that and they don’t hold up well,” Geren said. “If you want something like this, then they can take the ropes off and replace them with something else.” 

According to Geren, she paid close attention to which playground structures would prove both fun and durable. A close eye was given to items to make sure they would not be predisposed to rusting.

City officials will take time to look at the playground to decide which would be best for the city.

Both McDermott and Goode offered their congratulations to the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society and their work with the Hiwassee Heritage Center. May’s City Commission meeting was held in the newly renovated building on Highway 11.

“I am really proud to be in the building today. It is beautiful. It is a great addition to the city and I pray everything continues to go well,” McDermott said. “I just hope it fulfills all our expectation, and I know it will. Too much work has been put into it for it not to. I’m very, very, very impressed.”

The Hiwassee Heritage Center will have its grand opening on Friday. Open house will be from 2 to 6 p.m. with the ribbon cutting at 2:15 p.m. Melissa Woody of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce assured the Commission the public is welcomed to the event. Parking will be available.

In addition, the Recreation Board will meet Monday at 6 p.m. in the city park under the pavillion.