By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Local real estate agent Jim Davis predicts the city of Cleveland will continue to grow at a rapid rate. He said plans need to be in place to ensure things go well. That was the assessment he …
Local real estate agent Jim Davis predicts the city of Cleveland will continue to grow at a rapid rate. He said plans need to be in place to ensure things go well.
That was the assessment he shared as he recently spoke to the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club, of which he is a member.
“We gain about 1,000 new people each year because of this area’s growth,” Davis said of the local population.
This trend will likely continue, Davis said. He cited expansions by Wacker Polysilicon and the Cleveland Regional Jetport and the future development of the Spring Branch Industrial Park, a new state veterans home and property being developed off Paul Huff Parkway as examples of this.
He also touched on the increased number of housing options. Davis described some of the more recent apartment complexes which have been built, including Spring Creek (299 units) and Brookes Edge (360 units).
Despite this growth, Davis said the Cleveland community is in danger of having a housing shortage as it continues to grow.
“Right now, we don’t have enough apartments and houses in general. ... We are right on the cusp of becoming a city rather than just a larger town," Davis said. "This does bring some huge benefits, but it also does bring some challenges.
Houses that are reasonably priced "sell really quickly," and he believes supply and demand is helping lead to a increase in housing costs.
Just a few years ago, the average apartment rental price was about $500 per month. The average price is now "approaching $700," Davis said, noting this is "pricing some people out of both the sale and rental markets."
He said there were 1,260 homes sold in Cleveland in 2017, with the average price being just over $182,000. In 2015, 1,195 homes sold, and the average price then was approximately $159,000.
Land is also in demand by individuals and companies alike, which Davis is leading to another complication.
An increase in the number of new residents inevitably leads to an increase in the number of children. With land in demand, it has become more challenging for local leaders to figure out where to build new schools for them.
Davis cited the example of the stretch of Georgetown Road/Highway 60 which includes three schools — Cleveland Middle School, Hopewell Elementary School and the future Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School, set to open next year.
“They’re building where the space is,” said Davis.
Another challenge is traffic. Davis asked the Rotarians if any of them had noticed an increase in traffic in recent years, and many raised their hands.
Because most of Cleveland and Bradley County's roads were built when the city and county's populations were smaller, he noted traffic problems could continue to surface.
He emphasized the importance of community leaders taking part in long-term planning efforts, taking into account everything from traffic concerns to school availability.
While he stressed the city's growth is positive, he said there is much work to be done to ensure any growing pains remain as painless as possible.
“As citizens, people in the business community, this is what we need to talk about with our elected officials,” said Davis.
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