Cleveland's city government, especially City Council members and City Manager Joe Fivas, are facing some challenges in the coming year. But, most are optimistic about the opportunities.Council …
Cleveland's city government, especially City Council members and City Manager Joe Fivas, are facing some challenges in the coming year. But, most are optimistic about the opportunities.
Council members and Fivas discussed their personal resolutions for the coming year, and emphasized their hopes for the city.
A priority is revitalization and redevelopment of the downtown area of the city, as well as the anticipation of improvements, upgrades and additions to city services and resources.
Most are pleased by partnerships with community residents, and business, industry, and varied organizations.
Those partnerships include Cleveland Utilities, Cleveland City Schools, MainStreet Cleveland, Impact Cleveland, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, United Way and others.
Fivas has completed his initial year of working with the Council and city staff, and plans for revitalization of the downtown area have been well received.
There are also plans for redevelopment of the Inman Street corridor through downtown, and into the South Cleveland area around the old Cherokee Hotel, the old Woolen Mill, and the 90 acre vacated by Whirlpool when the corporation moved to its new facilities on Benton Pike.
Fivas joined Council members in being optimistic about 2018, with hopes for continued growth for the city.
He said he is pleased with his first year in the community, saying, "There's no better place to live and work, than Cleveland."
He also gave credited city staff, adding praise for the mayor and Council members for embracing many of his plans for the city.
Asked about the coming year, Fivas said he is looking forward to community input for a three-year plan for Cleveland, which he feels will ensure the city's continued prosperity.
"We're also looking forward to completing some of the stuff we've started this past year, such as additional police and fire personnel, and the opening of the city's new Fire Station No. 6."
Parks and Recreation also has recorded some positive accomplishments and plans for the future, including the new Blythe-Oldfield Park, the new tennis complex at Tinsley Park, Deer Park's planned renovations, Cleveland Greenway upgrades, and work on a master plan.
In his personal resolution, Fivas joined Councilman David May Jr. in saying he would like to lose a few pounds.
"I want to live a healthy lifestyle, and have continued good health for my family," he said.
Mayor Tom Rowland, the longest serving mayor in Tennessee, is proud of the city's growth and the number of commendations received during the past year.
Cleveland was listed among the nation's leading municipalities as an excellent community to live in, work in or retire to. The city has been especially recognized across the state for its growth and employment opportunities.
"Among my resolutions is the hope we can continue to bring attention to our city, and continue to let people outside of Cleveland know our city is a great place to live, and do business," the mayor said.
Rowland added the City Council is taking some aggressive steps to improve what it provides to its citizens, such as adding personnel in the Police and Fire departments, looking to lower the city's street paving cycle, and improving problem traffic locations and lessening traffic congestion.
He also mentioned the city's plan to add sidewalks, and thus improve accessibility to the downtown area from the Cleveland Greenway, and connect the downtown sidewalk system to the Greenway.
The mayor cautiously anticipates some changes on the Council, following a recent announcement by Councilman Richard Banks that he will not be seeking re-election.
Banks said he felt it was time to let someone else serve the city from his at-large seat.
There have also been some unfortunate health issues among Council members during the past year.
District 5 Councilman Dale Hughes, a longtime educator and businessman in the community, has been struggling with recovery from surgery. More recently, District 1 Councilman Charlie McKenzie has been hospitalized with ongoing health issues.
Hughes was optimistic that his health issues have turned the corner.
"I'm looking forward to the probability of my health improving," said Hughes. "I'm also looking forward to returning to my business issues, and to my responsibilities on the Council."
He said his hopes for the city in the coming year include continued progress on the state's widening of Highway 60 (Georgetown Road), particularly because of the construction of the new Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School along that route.
"We also need the widening of Mouse Creek Road," he added.
Banks said one of his resolutions is to serve out the remainder of his current term on the Council, with continued progress by the city on several capital improvement projects.
"We need to keep Cleveland among the best cities in the nation," he said.
As for his personal resolutions, the Cleveland attorney said he hopes to re-evaluate his priorities, with emphasis on family and friends.
Cleveland Vice Mayor Avery Johnson, also a longtime member of the Council, is hoping for continued health for his family in 2018.
For the city, Johnson said, "I'm looking for a lot of things, since we have so many things in place for Cleveland. I think 2018 will be an ultimate year for the city. We have a real good plan in place, to make our environment one of the best anywhere."
District 4 Councilman May has an ambitious (personal) resolution for the coming year.
"I've got to lose some weight and get back in shape," he said. "I'm serious about it this year ... I hope!"
May, another experienced councilman, is also excited about prospects for the city.
"I'm impressed with our new city manager, and his plans for Downtown Cleveland," said May. "I grew up in this area, and it really should be improved. I'm very enthused about the possibilities."
McKenzie, responding from his hospital bed Sunday and facing recovery from health problems and surgery, said he wanted to wish the residents of his district a happy New Year.
His resolution for the new year is to recover as soon as possible. He added that he hopes the city's progress and improvements of the past year continues into 2018.
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