Cleveland mayor gives update on city progress
by By LUCIE R. WILLSIE Associate Editor
Dec 26, 2012 | 2348 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tom Rowland
Tom Rowland
Banner photo, LUCIE R. WILLSIE
THE MOST RECENT BRADLEY SUNRISE ROTARY member is Lisa Holmes, Bradley County coordinator for CASA. At right is the Rotarian who sponsored her, Matthew Coleman, and at left is the current club president, Pat Fuller.
Banner photo, LUCIE R. WILLSIE THE MOST RECENT BRADLEY SUNRISE ROTARY member is Lisa Holmes, Bradley County coordinator for CASA. At right is the Rotarian who sponsored her, Matthew Coleman, and at left is the current club president, Pat Fuller.
The state of the city was the topic of Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland’s address to the Bradley Sunrise Rotary just before Christmas.

Proudly, Rowland not only listed some of the recent accomplishments the city has experienced, but also extolled some of its many virtues.

“We live in a community great to live in,” Rowland told the assembled crowd. “More people come into Cleveland than leave.”

Some of the accomplishments in the past year include the 350 acres bought for an industrial park and the area receiving a large number of business requests.

“Anyone who wants to build a factory,” the mayor said, “we have the land now.”

Wacker will ultimately employ 2,000 construction personnel. Olin is enlarging its plant. Whirlpool has and is continuing with construction projects.

“People want to come here,” Rowland said. “Cleveland has had the 10th largest growth in the state ... We’re in the Top 5 in Tennessee where people want to come for business.”

Visitors and residents alike would be “astonished” at what’s produced in Cleveland, the mayor said. Cleveland is behind only four other cities in the state for the number of commercial jobs it has, he added.

He then listed the various employers and wide range of companies that currently do business in Cleveland:

n Whirlpool, which employs roughly 1,500 people at its manufacturing plant, makes various electric and gas cooking products; the company also employs another 500 at its Cleveland call center, meaning the global corporation is easily the largest employer in Bradley County.

- Peyton’s Southeastern, which employs 979 people, distributes for Kroger, and warehouses products in Cleveland;

- Catnapper, which makes recliners;

- The Mueller Co., which makes fire hydrants;

- Dr. Scholl’s products;

- Hardwick Clothes, which employs 257 workers and which is the oldest clothing manufacturer in the United States, the mayor said. It also just received a contract for U.S. Army dress blues;

- The Mars Chocolate North America Co., which employs 495 people, makes 50 percent of its M&M and Twix brands here;

- G.E. bulbs are warehoused here;

- Star Plex Scientific, which produces plastic bottles often used in doctor’s offices;

- Southeast Container Co., which makes Coca-Cola bottles;

- Dasani Water, which uses the city of Cleveland’s municipal water system as its source;

- Procter & Gamble Co. — Duracell, which employs 350 people, makes all its D and C cell batteries for the world in Cleveland;

- KFC makes its “secret batter recipe” here;

- The Renfro Corp., which employs 290 workers, makes its Smart Wool Socks here;

- The Flowers Baking Co., which employs 296 people, makes many different types of snack cakes;

- The Olin Co., which employs 363 workers and makes caustic soda and chlorine;

In addition, the mayor said, the city offers many places to visit, such as Lee University’s new chapel and the rest of the campus; plus Cleveland State Community College, the newly refurbished train depot and others.

Looking forward some infrastructure projects in the offing include the 25th and Ocoee Street intersection, which will involve getting permission, as well as money, not only from the state of Tennessee but from the city.

The new Cleveland Regional Jetport also is scheduled to open officially in January.

“Now we’ll have an airport where a commercial plane can land,” the mayor said.

He also is looking forward to the new exchange at Exit 20 of Interstate 75. Construction work should commence around May or June and be largely finished by October 2013.

“I’m thankful for people believing in this community,” he said.

Rowland’s background, accomplishments and experience are diverse and plentiful. Some include the following:

- He is in the Congressional Record of the 110th Congress as Cleveland’s longest serving mayor, having served since 1991, as well as being named Tennessee Mayor of the Year in 2004.

- He is the vice chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the highest position a person can hold and not be a member of the Tennessee Legislature.

- He is the chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, as well as a member of many other boards, including the Economic Development Council and the Industrial Development Board.

- Rowland also is the only Tennessee mayor on the Homeland Security Council.

- He was named Tennessee’s Community Leader of the Year in 2009 and made an honorary alumnus of Lee University in 2010.

- And, he also is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

In other business:

- Members of the Tennessee Christian Preparatory School’s Interact Club were presented with an official certificate, as well as the official banner, for their newly formed group.

- Lisa Holmes, the Bradley County coordinator of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), was inducted as the newest member of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary club. She was sponsored by Bradley Sunrise Rotary member Matthew Coleman.

- Alvin Word, Bradley Sunrise Rotary member, informed the club that Life Care will hold a blood donation drive on Friday.