Charleston seeking site for public library

Posted 10/10/18
The Charleston City Commission continues to discuss community cleanup, plans for a Charleston website, and upkeep and upgrades for the city cemetery.Meeting in a two-hour session Tuesday evening, …

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Charleston seeking site for public library


The Charleston City Commission continues to discuss community cleanup, plans for a Charleston website, and upkeep and upgrades for the city cemetery.

Meeting in a two-hour session Tuesday evening, Mayor Walter Goode and Commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney  took some positive steps on those issues and others.

One of the main topics, although no action was taken, was the possibility of Charleston getting a community library.

Goode and City Manager Caroline Geren met recently with Bradley County Commissioner Tom Crye and State Rep. Dan Howell concerning such a project, which would be enhanced if grant money can be obtained.

 Goode said the county and state officials believe it's a possibility.

"The biggest need is to find a place for a library," said the mayor. "We don't have any property [on which to construct such a facility, even if funding were available]."

The old community center building, now owned by the Bradley County Community Service Agency, is a possibility. The city has explored  the possibility of obtaining  the building for its own community center, but that effort has not been successful.

 The mayor said the county agency is planning some upgrades (cleanup) for  the building, and  there still might be some chance of getting ownership.

He will be talking to CSA Director Demetrius Ramsey, and others, about the building.

If a library could be acquired for Charleston, it would operate in conjunction with the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library.

 There are libraries in nearby Calhoun, and in Athens  to the north. 

Discussions of the possibility of a Charleston library,  and grant funding, are expected to continue. 

The three city commissioners will meet in a called session at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the municipal to address  the city's website.

City Recorder Janet Newport has completed some of the preliminary work, including the selection of a domain name. She is being assisted by Walker Valley High School instructor Joe Bryant.

The commissioners' meeting Thursday, perhaps with Bryant in attendance, is to decide what to place on the website.

The meeting may have another agenda item.

At least two property owners, who have been cited for failure to clean up their property, have approached Police Chief Johnny Stokes about the possibility of getting an extension of time to complete their tasks.

The Commission favors the requests for 30-day extensions, since some work has already been completed, but is asking the  residents to attend the city meeting to convey their reasons for an extension.

Stokes will attempt to contact both parties before Thursday. 

Some of the the churches in the Charleston community have responded  to a plea from the city for assistance with the city cemetery.

 The churches have pledged support in establishing a cemetery fund for mowing and upkeep next season.

Street Supervisor Melvin Graham has been taking care of the cemetery to date, but it is challenging  the city's  resources. Graham said he is planning one more mowing as the fall has arrived. He also said there are a few monument marker overturned due a fallen limb. 

Graham has attempted  to keep  the burial grounds in good order, especially for holidays. 

With the support of the community's churches, city officials hope to set up a cemetery mowing/maintenance fund for the 2019 season.

In other city business:

• Charleston continues to plan for a mural for the wall of the pavilion in Hoyt Berry City Park. 

They are contacting students at the elementary school  to get their input. The theme of the mural is to be " The Trail of Tears", and an anonymous donor will present a  $25 award  to the winning design. Entries must be submitted by the end of the year, with the winner announced in January.

Commissioners have discussed the possibility of getting students at Walker Valley High School  to paint  the mural.

• Melissa Woody of the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society, and  the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, attended Tuesday's meeting.

She said expansion of the Heritage Center in Charleston is going well, with completion anticipated by the first of 2019.

She said this year's International Cowpea Festival in September was another big success. It is  the main fundraiser for the Heritage Center.

The Historical Society's next meeting will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21, at Charleston United Methodist Church.

• Charleston officials are establishing a special form for comments and concerns from city residents. The form can be filled out, and mailed by to City Manager Geren.

"This will help us in hearing from our residents," said Goode. He said he is continually fielding questions in the community. 

The forms will be available at the city municipal building. 


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