Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, the second-longest tenured mayor in the state of Tennessee, has announced his plans to run for re-election and suggested this likely will be his final race.
Rowland, a former president of the Tennessee Municipal League who currently serves as vice chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, said he intends to file the paperwork before the May deadline, but could not file before his announcement.
The mayor made his re-election plans public today during his annual “State of the City” address before members of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club at the civic group’s weekly luncheon.
“The reason I would like to run again is we have so many unfinished projects, and I would like to be involved in seeing them through to fruition,” Rowland said.
Some of theses projects are transportation related. Projects such as revamping Exit 20 at Interstate 75 are underway. The Exit 20 construction, which includes widening the current two-lane bridge to six and totally revamping the I-75 interchange, is expected to be completed in November 2015. Work has begun on the exit’s new bridge and drainage work is being completed.
Work on Highway 60 is expected to start soon to make the road four lanes with sidewalks and a bicycle trail.
The Spring Branch Industrial Park is another project Rowland said he would like to see to completion. In previous interviews, Rowland has said the completion of the local interstate connector to the site will make it accessible to potential businesses. The connector is in the final stages.
Many other potential projects for the coming years were named during a recent strategic planning session of the Cleveland City Council. One project is a potential new municipal building for city government that would bring the departments into one structure, rather than the three they occupy now.
Rowland has served as mayor of Cleveland since 1991. The previous mayor had decided not to run and asked Rowland to consider being a candidate.
“I had about three days to make a decision,” Rowland said.
At that time, Rowland had already been involved in local government as the commissioner of Fire, Parks and Recreation. The mayor explained that back then the city had another form of government with commissioners over each department. Later, the city moved to the current form of government, which places the departments under a city manager.
Rowland was named Mayor of the Year in 2004 and Tennessee Volunteer of the Year in 2009.