Immediate annexation plans are to take in 272 residents living in the area around and behind Charleston Elementary School.
Longtime Mayor Walter Goode said the limited area is from Westside Drive to Maple Crest subdivision, around behind the school to Mustang Drive and back east to Highway 11. This property is 135 acres with 1.34 miles of partially curbed streets. The plan is being called the “Maple Crest Annexation.”
The mayor said this annexation will bring minimal revenue into the city, but will provide an abundance of services to residents.
“But, the real reason for the annexation is to get Charleston’s population above 1,000 residents, which will open some doors for grant money which is not available with less than 1,000 residents,” Goode said.
The mayor confirmed he and Commissioners Larry Anderson and Donna McDermott have also been discussing the possibility of future annexation several miles to the west of the current Charleston city limits.
Goode, who recently advocated that Charleston become more involved in Bradley County’s future growth planning, said Charleston commissioners are exploring the possibility of annexation along Old Lower River Road to Frontage Road, and back along Lauderdale Memorial Highway to Highway 11 at Tarver Distributing.
This annexation would take in the Arch operation on Old Lower River Road, the Ponderosa and Love truck stops at the I-75 interchange, the General Electric distributorship, Wacker’s industrial development, the new Amazon.com distribution center, Wright Brothers Construction and Walker Valley High School.
These industries at I-75 and Lauderdale Highway are also targeted for annexation by the city of Cleveland along a corridor from the city north along Mouse Creek Road.
Aware of Cleveland’s interest in annexing to the north, Goode said he would like for Charleston officials to circulate a petition to the residents and industrial leaders in this area for feedback.
“We would like to know what they would prefer,” Goode said.
The Charleston mayor agreed it would put much more on the plates of the city staff and Commission in the future. “But, we want to grow and expand,” he emphasized.
Goode emphasized utility service is already available with Cleveland Utilities’ expansion to Bradley County’s Hiwassee Industrial Park. “We would also have to provide streets, streetlights, garbage pickup and other services,” he added.
The Charleston mayor said it would be a natural step for the city to annex to the west. He said since Cleveland announced its annexation plans, and his Commission approved a proposal to annex the small area in downtown Charleston, he has received calls from local residents and business and industrial leaders.
“They are asking about the possibility of Charleston annexing to I-75,” he said, adding the calls have sparked interest and considerable discussion among commissioners.
“If we (Charleston) want to grow and expand, we’ll have to go to the west,” Mayor Goode said of annexation possibilities.
Regarding Charleston’s plans for downtown annexation, he said the Municipal Technical Assistance Service (MTAS) at the University of Tennessee had asked the city to prepare a study of the area (and annexation proposals), with plans for services showing what services are to be providing, a timing of delivery, plans for ordinances and resolutions which might be required and a description of implementation (including notice requirements).
He said the city is required to extend the same services it currently provides in the city (within a reasonable time period).
Goode said the 272 residents will receive improved police, fire and zoning services and garbage pickup. He added the fire ISO rating will improve from a 7 to a 6 to benefit homeowners on insurance needs.