Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland continues to be the city's top cheerleader for growth and improvement.Rowland took time recently to discuss the city's past year, and prospects for 2018. The mayor's …
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland continues to be the city's top cheerleader for growth and improvement.
Rowland took time recently to discuss the city's past year, and prospects for 2018.
The mayor's remarks might be considered a preview of his annual State of the City Address, which he will present to the noon luncheon of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club on Thursday, Jan. 11.
The State of the City has become a traditional event for the Kiwanis Club during Rowland's more than 30 years as the city's top elected official. Each year he highlights the city's growth with a look over the previous 175 years, events of the year just passed, and a glimpse to the future.
The mayor emphasized Cleveland's population by 2020 should be right around 50,000. Current numbers are around 45,000 and continued growth is anticipated.
"With this growth, we have to look at our infrastructure," said Rowland. "It's important we stay ahead of our actual needs."
In words of caution to his fellow Cleveland City Council members, he said, "I urge the council to look ahead, as we have this past year."
Rowland expressed pride in the fact the Council has taken a progressive stance in planning for the future, especially with the city's first responders. He emphasized the city is in the process of adding 12 new police officers, and 12 additional firefighters.
The additional fire personnel is needed to man the new Fire Station No. 6 on the south side of the city. The CFD is also planning the construction of a new fire training tower.
Rowland also reminded the council it should be looking ahead to planning for a seventh fire station in the northeast section of the city, keeping an eye out for available property in this area.
"These Fire Department additions will allow us to maintain a 3 ISO [standards rating], and perhaps improve to a 2," said Rowland. "This will benefit all city residents."
Another priority for the coming year, according to Rowland, is the laying down of more sidewalks, and the upgrade of existing sidewalks. "This is always good for health and recreation," he said.
Expansion and additions to the Cleveland Greenway are another priority, especially with relation to extension of the Greenway into the downtown area and to the proposed Taylor Spring Park on 1st Street.
The mayor said the main focus for 2018 will be the revitalization and redevelopment of the downtown Cleveland area, spearheaded by City Manager Joe Fivas.
"With the city's planned purchase of The Summit (the old Cherokee Hotel), we need to decide on its best use — as offices or a boutique hotel," Rowland said.
He explained that a boutique hotel is a destination with a unique theme, such as The Loft in Nashville. He says such a venue could invigorate the downtown area as a tourist attraction.
Rowland also feels the old railway depot, just off Inman Street, should be refurbished, and he is looking ahead to other upgrades for the Inman Street corridor.
The mayor is looking forward to the city's industrial future, especially along Tom Rowland Interchange at the new Spring Branch Industrial Park. The joint city/county project is expected to bring thousand of new jobs to the community.
"We seem to be making great headway in many areas," he said at the end of the discussion. "We just need to keep going."
In expressing hopes for the future, Rowland said, "I want to bring more national attention to our city, and continue to let people outside of Cleveland know our city is a great place to live and do business."
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