The Cleveland/Bradley Ministerial Association heard an overview of the positive industrial advancements happening in Cleveland during a meeting Wednesday.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland hosted the association at the Cleveland Municipal Building.
“I’m proud of our city… We are a blessed city, a blessed community,” Rowland said.
He said it is the people of Cleveland making a difference that has made it the community it is.
There are many resources here that other, even larger cities, do not have, Rowland said. He recounted a story of telling someone from another town about The Caring Place and finding out there was nothing like that in their town.
Rowland said it was the people of Cleveland who impacted Whirlpool’s decision to keep their plant here rather than moving it to Mississippi.
He said even those who have lived here awhile may not know all of the products that are manufactured in Cleveland.
“In the last five years we have enjoyed industrial investments of $2.6 billion,” Rowland said.
Rowland said many people also come to Cleveland for tourism, whether it’s to see the historic downtown or Red Clay State Park or other attractions in the area.
Wacker Chemie North America’s investment in Bradley County is the largest private industrial investment in the nation, according to Rowland.
Amazon in Charleston is one of the company’s five warehouses that are being expanded.
Mars Chocolate North America continues expansion of its facility as it now produces all of the Twix bars in the world, Rowland said. More than half of the M&M candies manufactured are made in Cleveland. Rowland said a CLE denotation on the candy wrapper means in was manufactured in Cleveland.
Olin is another local industry that has expanded its local presence.
Starplex Scientific plastics company has also located in Cleveland.
“Our new industrial park down next to Exit 20 is going to be amazing,” Rowland said.
He said economic development was made possible through local governments partnering with the Chamber of Commerce. He said completion of the interstate connector would open the area for showing. Right now the only way for potential industries to view the site is by helicopter.
Coppertone, Dr. Scholl’s, Brown Stove, Hardwick Clothes, numerous brands of socks, drink straws and Whirlpool appliances are also manufactured here.
Kroger and many General Electric light bulbs are warehoused here. The secret coating for KFC chicken is also packaged in Cleveland, Rowland said.
Rowland said the city government hopes to build a new building on the current location in the future.
“It’s kind of like building a church. You need money and you need faith, and you need money,” Rowland quipped.
A nonindustry accomplishment that stands out for Rowland is the naming of Billy Graham Avenue. The section of street thus named dead-ends at North Ocoee near Medlin Hall, where Graham lived while attending Bob Jones University, where Lee University is located today. Rowland said Graham’s daughter Gigi came to a ribbon cutting commemorating the renaming of that section of roadway. The mayor said he also said he received a handwritten note from Graham stating that he would have liked to come to Cleveland but his health would not allow him to do so.