Charleston area residents offer annexation opinions
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 13, 2013 | 1095 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Charleston City Commission heard the first voices of dissent at Tuesday night’s annexation hearing where affected residents were given the floor.

Only six of the 272 individuals to be affected by the annexation were in attendance.

A resident from the Maple Crest subdivision said he felt Charleston had nothing to offer him.

“I have talked to two or three of the neighbors and they are opposed to [the annexation]. I am going to go around and try to talk to others,” the resident said.

He cited such complaints as law enforcement protection, city sewage and city garbage services.

Another concerned Bradley County resident, Tony Schlaeger, said he was not in support of the annexation. He said he was concerned the city would try to handle his 300 feet of land included in the annexation. Mayor Walter Goode said Schlaeger’s land would be grandfathered in to the city lines. Neither the Commission nor any other Charleston entity would have a say on the property. Schlaeger maintained he is against the annexation.

Two women from the Maple Crest subdivision asked if their neighborhood would receive streetlights. Goode said the city would place 10 streetlights throughout the subdivision, if the bylaws of the neighborhood allowed the lights. He also assured the residents their neighborhood roads would be kept up by the maintenance department.

Faye Callaway, a resident of Charleston for 32 years, threw her support behind her city.

“I love living in Charleston. I love being a part of a community where we have a lot of pride in our community. And I love the folks who have come here tonight, who have the freedom to come and express their opinions about this decision,” Callaway said. “Where we live is not going to stay the same. We are going to have growth whether or not we want it, due to the industries coming to this area.”

Continued Callaway, “I think it is a wonderful opportunity for property owners. I have 7 acres I mow, and yes, I do pay taxes. I feel very pleased paying my city taxes because it gives me a right to be part of a community that is growing and part of a community that cares.”

Goode and Commissioners Donna McDermott and Larry Burns said they are interested in hearing further opinions from their residents, and future residents.

“We are trying to preserve the history for the Charleston residents. We are trying to extend our city limits so Cleveland will not come right up next to us,” Goode said. “... We are not trying to force this [upon] you, Mr. Schlaeger.”

He assured the residents he was not after their revenue.

“We are annexing to achieve a goal so we can get some of the grant money out there to make our little town as grand as everyone else’s,” Goode said. “We are just trying to do some of the things we were charged to do.”

A Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society meeting is set for Sunday, at the Calhoun United Methodist Chapel. The speaker will be Professor Bryan Reed. Callaway, CCHHS president, said he will be speaking on the histories of black families in the Charleston community.