"Have a plan. Follow the plan, and you'll be surprised how successful you can be. Most people don't have a plan. That's why it's easy to beat most folks," the famous and often outspoken Coach Bryant was once quoted as saying.
At this time of year, many of us set goals, or make resolutions for the next 12 months. We often make plans to help ourselves reach those goals.
Great cities do the same. The city of Cleveland has been blessed with great resources, opportunities and successes in the recent past.
With the start of 2014, it is time once again to look ahead.
In 2014, our community and the state of Tennessee will continue to work together to unlock the potential along APD 40 and Exit 20 at Interstate 75.
Our city will be looking for ways to work with the needs of a growing school system.
We will be looking at how to serve all our citizens through our public works, parks and recreation and emergency services.
Our City Council and staff will be working their way this month through a long planning list. Some items on the list, like the Cleveland High School Raider Dome, will need quick attention. Some items are long range. No doubt, you will be reading and hearing more about each one in the days ahead.
Our city's past performance has attracted the attention of outsiders. The Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank, recently ranked Cleveland at 25th among "Best Performing Small Cities." Cleveland is no stranger to that list. But this year's ranking was a dramatic jump from 119th place in 2012.
It is a great reflection on how our city, county, state and our Chamber of Commerce work together to make our community a great place to live and bring up a family. I have said it before. Our Chamber of Commerce provides us with the thread that weaves all facets together, as they seek out new opportunities for more jobs, more products and services. We lean heavily on our Chamber's input, expertise and research information. This staff not only works hard for their members, but they keep up to date on all aspects to assure their members get maximum benefits. That makes for a win-win for our community as well.
Our local economy has stayed strong in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Cleveland/Bradley County as fourth in the nation in its 2013 best cities for job growth listing.
Our citizens continue to strongly support organizations that serve those who need a hand up. Cleveland's philanthropic spirit is another reason cited by Milken for our high ranking.
"Prediction is difficult, especially about the future," baseball catcher Yogi Berra once said. And Yogi had a point.
But with the strong foundation our community has already built, we will not just be making predictions this month. Your city will be looking at where we are and where we should be going next.
This is something our Cleveland Development and Engineering Department staff does every day, working closely with the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission and the City Council.
As a true "City With Spirit,” we will not just be making predictions this month, but rather, searching out better ways to reach our next level of new opportunities.
Stay tuned for 2014.