Strategic needs receive Council focus
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jan 14, 2014 | 960 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Several needs mentioned during a lengthy Cleveland City Council strategic planning meeting were designated as immediate needs at its voting session Monday.

Councilman Bill Estes made a motion that funding be approved for extension of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, the South Cleveland Community Center and College Hill gym renovations.

All of the motions were passed contingent on City Manager Janice Casteel and city finance director Shawn McKay finding money in the budget for the projects. Casteel said the money could potentially come from the general fund.

Of the projected $40.4 million revenue for the 2013-14 fiscal year, $24.1 million has already been collected, McKay reported. The fiscal year began in July. Taxes and intergovernmental fees are the two largest forms of funding for the city.

During the strategic planning session earlier in the day, director of development and engineering Jonathan Jobe presented four options to the Council on ways to start getting the Greenway to Inman Street.

“This is going to be one of the most challenging phases to construct,” Jobe said.

The option the Council approved would extend the paved pathway approximately 1,000 feet south of Willow Street. Jobe said he had already been in contact with the owner about granting an easement to the Greenway. The owner of the three properties which would be affected agreed. The city public works department would do the actual work.

Estes said he saw this project as a starting point to the long-range goal of the linear park. He said going forward with this portion would build momentum for the completion. More grants may also be secured in the future as the decisions are made about how to move forward.

Rita Hannah of the South Cleveland Community Center expressed the need for renovations and updated equipment for the facility’s weight room, renovations to a restroom and pavement needs on the parking lot.

Hannah said the restroom did not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and that a drain in the floor had rusted.

“I noticed a lot of water standing in there from the pool area and stuff, so I had a plumber come in and check the drains and apparently they have rusted out and the water won’t go anywhere except out under the floor there, and it is causing the floor to sink,” Hannah said. “We thought we needed to get that taken care of before ... doing anything with the ADA (standards).”

Estes said he saw this as an immediate need because the moisture could affect the foundation of the building. During Hannah’s presentation the project was estimated to cost $80,000.

Estimated cost for expanding the weight room and adding new and updated equipment was $10,000. Parking lot work was estimated at $16,400. These projects were not addressed and may be discussed at the budget planning session in March.

The College Hill Recreation Center also had some needs.

“I met with a structural engineer at College Hill … they said it is structurally sound,” Parks and Recreation Director Patti Petitt said. “Back in ’77 they did some work on the gym and it has started cracking again.”

Fixing drainage issues and reinforcing the wall should fix the problem, according to Petitt.

Architect Doug Caywood said the wall would not need to be torn down because it was not a load-bearing wall and the fixes should be sufficient. The project was estimated to cost $15,000.

The Council also approved the purchase of a new piece of equipment for the public works department. Public Works Director Tommy Myers said the money for the equipment is in the department’s budget. He said this would allow his bulk debris pickup teams to run each of the 10 routes once a week. He said this would eliminate calls from residents concerned about when the debris would be picked up.

Other departments presenting needs during the planning session included the fire department, airport and Cleveland City Schools.

“Cleveland continues to grow … and if we don’t continue to grow we are going to outgrow our services,” Fire Chief Steve Haun said of his department.

The importance of constructing the proposed station on Westland Drive and renovating Fire Station No. 4 were highlighted.

He also recommended a new station near the jetport in case there would be any jet fuel-related incidents.

Haun also said he would also like to begin switching his trucks over to Pierce trucks so all the trucks have the same type of engine.

At the airport, an extension of the runway by 500 feet and the redesign of a taxiway are underway. Needs for the future include more T-hangars. Director of Operations Mark Fidler said these would be less expensive to construct than the current hangars because the infrastructure is already in place.

Estes asked when the revenue from the T-hangars would reimburse the cost of construction. Fidler said the hangars are generating $68,000 per year. At this rate, the hangars will recoup the construction costs in 20 years.

The Jetport is also generating revenue by renting out its conference rooms.

A detailed article on the needs presented by Cleveland City Schools will be featured in Wednesday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.