Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland took a look back and then a look into the future regarding the city’s business and industry during the past year.
“Cleveland now has two airports,” Rowland jokingly told the members.
He said, “Now the question from the pilot is, ‘Which airport is yours?’”
The Cleveland Jetport opened Friday.
He congratulated Nancy Casson of MainStreet Cleveland for her role in support of the jetport terminal.
Rowland reflected on the storms in March 2012 and the fact Habitat for Humanity had built its 100th home.
“They are a beacon of hope for those who want to work and give back to Cleveland and own a home,” Rowland said.
He also spoke of People for Care and Learning and the “Build a City” project.
A Cambodian city will officially become a sister city and a safe home there can be constructed for $1,000.
“Cleveland also continues to lead the way to economic recovery in Tennessee,” Rowland said.
He mentioned Wacker and other industrial construction sites and that Duracell now produces C and D cell batteries in Cleveland … for worldwide distribution.
Hardwick Clothes has also increased production and now produces the U.S. Army blue dress uniform jackets, according to Rowland.
“Cleveland is the seventh largest manufacturing city in the state,” he said.
Retail business has also been on the increase with the opening of Holiday Inn Express near Paul Huff Parkway and Interstate 75, the new Carmike Cinema at Bradley Square Mall and future businesses such as Longhorn Steakhouse and the Santa Fe Cattle Company, as well as Hampton Inn.
Other future projects include two bridges proposed at Exit 20 on I-75, the development of Spring Branch, roadways near the new Whirlpool facility and Highway 60 widening.
“Twenty-one years ago I said something about widening Dalton Pike,” Rowland quipped. “It won’t be long now before it’s completed.”
Rowland also noted that the Chattanooga area and Cleveland city limits will be just 5 1/2 miles from each other after Spring Branch is opened in 2014.
Rowland also praised MainStreet members and leadership for working and keeping business in the downtown area as part of the downtown revitalization.
“We will have new loft apartments soon,” he said.
Lee University will also be working to redesign and reuse an area downtown where the former First Baptist Church is located.
“The old Cleveland Depot continues to serve Cleveland Urban Transportation Authority, which continues to increase in riders,” Rowland said.
“And soon, a new veterans home will be constructed … actually, it’s sooner than we originally thought,” he said.
Rowland said the new facility will create 260 jobs for residents.
“There has been no property tax increase since 2005. Your city’s money is in good hands,’ Rowland said after the city received a good financial report.
Street improvements, a new city fire station and a flood area study are also in the works, according to Rowland.
Rowland issued a challenge to MainStreet.
“Ten years-ago, I visited Kingsport and noticed they had historical markers of landmarks,” Rowland said.
He noted some of the landmarks were not on the National Historical Registry but still had a history to be told.
“I would like to see historic signage on some of our landmarks that are not on the registry. I think this would allow visitors and our own residents [to see] what Cleveland has to offer,” Rowland said.
The February meeting will feature Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.