City remains focused on completing quality of life projects

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 12/2/19

The recent grand reopening of Cleveland’s Deer Park is just one of several completed projects aimed at improving the quality of life for city residents.And for many residents — whether they live …

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City remains focused on completing quality of life projects

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The recent grand reopening of Cleveland’s Deer Park is just one of several completed projects aimed at improving the quality of life for city residents.

And for many residents — whether they live inside the city limits or outside in a rural spot of Bradley County — it is another reason to be thankful during this Thanksgiving season.

From the revamped Deer Park to the grand opening of the Casteel Greenway Connector to the grand opening of Tinsley Park Tennis Complex, the city’s project tick list is rapidly filling up with check marks, signifying their completion. 

Just recently, Phase I of the Candies Creek Greenway, which will be constructed on the west side of Interstate 75 in Cleveland on the former site of Rolling Hills Golf Club, began when heavy equipment operators started working at the site.

The project will include a 1.1-mile pathway along the creek from the south side of Candies Lane near Inverness Drive to the west of where the creek passes under Interstate 75. 

From there the greenway will cross the creek midway, incorporating the oldest steel truss bridge in the state, and terminate just before the creek meanders under Interstate 75, ultimately connecting the new Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School to Fletcher Park, which will include a 5.5-mile pathway. It will also connect to Cleveland Middle School, as well as Westmore Church of God and Westwood Baptist Church.

City Manager Joe Fivas told the Cleveland Daily Banner that city staff have worked long hours to get the projects from conceptualization to moving dirt. 

“We have a strong plan and have been able to show progress,” he said.

 Fivas also thanked the Cleveland City Council for their strong support.

The completed projects include:

• Tinsley Park Tennis Complex

• Public Safety Training Center

• Stuart School Park

 • Fire Station No. 6

 • Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School

 • Blythe-Oldfield Park

 • 25th Street Welcome Sign

 • Casteel Greenway Connector

•  Home Depot Right-In/Right-Out

 • Peerless Connector, Phase 1

 • Frontage Road Connector

 • Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School turn lane 

 • Parker Street Stormwater Project

 • Wilson Avenue Bus Stop 

 Current and future projects include:

 • Avery Johnson Park, under construction;

 • Taylor Spring Park and Greenway Connector, under construction;

 • Candies Creek Greenway Extension, Phase 1, under construction;

 • Tinsley Park Pickleball Courts, under construction;

 • Tinsley Park improvements, projected construction, spring 2020;

 • Candies Creek Greenway Phase 2 & 3, construction, summer 2020;

 • Indian Hills project, right-of-way acquisition phase;

 • 20th Street bridge project, under construction;

 • Dalton Pike sidewalk project, projected construction; winter 2019;

 • Candies Lane stormwater project, under construction;

• LIC North (Exit 20), projected construction, spring 2020;

• Ocoee Street/25th Street intersection widening, design in process;

• Peerless Connector, Phase 2, under construction;

 • Peerless Connector, Phase 3, planning stages;

 • Georgetown Road/25th Street intersection, under construction;

 • Peerless Road/25th Street intersection, planning stage;

 • Norman Chapel Road/Adkisson Drive, under construction;

 • 25th Street sidewalk, National Environmental Study Act (NEPA) review;

 • 20th Street/Michigan Avenue, NEPA 2020;

 • Paul Huff Parkway repaving, summer 2020;

• Mouse Creek Road/Paul Huff Parkway intersection, Phase 1, projected construction, winter 2020;

 • Mouse Creek Road/Paul Huff Parkway intersection, Phase 2, projected construction, summer 2020;

 • Gault Street sidewalk project, design, FY 2020;

 • CMAQ parking lot, NEPA 2020;

 • Carolina Pond stormwater project, projected construction, spring 2020;

 • Mouse Creek turn lanes, design in process;

 • Greenway extension to Mouse Creek neighborhoods, design in process;

 • Tinsley Park stormwater project, design in process;

 • 17th Street/Georgetown Road turn lane, project construction, spring 2020;

 • Sequoia Road improvements, projected construction, spring 2020 (county);

 • Veterans Home infrastructure, projected construction, 2020;

 • Americans With Disabilities Act Plan implementation, ongoing;

 • Greenway Phase 6, NEPA 2020;

 • 20th Street and 17th street sidewalk, project construction, winter 2019;

 • Central Avenue streetscape, rights of way in process;

 • State Route 60/Georgetown Road construction/widening, projected construction, 2020.

Although Cleveland officials have received word from the U.S. Department of Transportation that the city was not the recipient of a  “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Grant,” which would have funded the city’s revitalization of downtown’s Inman Street Corridor, they will continue to seek funding for the project.

The $17 million streetscaping  grant would have been the first step in the city's implementation of its Downtown Revitalization Master Plan, which city leaders hope will transform the city’s historic downtown into an area that will attract new residents, as well as tourists.

The master plan proposes a new tree-lined streetscape design for Inman Street, with sidewalks, medians and roundabouts to facilitate traffic flow. 

A key element of the plan includes reducing the number of lanes from four to three to slow traffic as it passes through downtown.

Although Inman Street will be less one lane, it will gain designated turn lanes separated by medians. 

The master plan, unveiled earlier this year, was developed by WSP, U.S.A., which was selected by the City Council in 2017  to create a vision to transform Cleveland's downtown into a livable and memorable district, as well as a destination for tourists visiting the Cleveland and the Ocoee Region.

Despite the setback, Cleveland City Councilman Tom Cassada remained optimistic regarding the city's downtown revitalization plan.

"It's not going to stop us," he said of the BUILD grant news. "It will just take us a little longer to get it done."

Councilman Dale Hughes agreed.

"We will do everything we can for the downtown project," he said. "We will reapply next year."

Councilman Ken Webb said major grants are not always approved on first attempts.

"It's not unusual to have to apply several times," he said.

In the interim, Fivas said the city will continue its work on the Inman Street Corridor project by conducting an environmental review as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

"We intend to ask the city council to begin the low-cost, environmental review which is federally required by the NEPA," he said.

Fivas said the NEPA process will take one year to complete.

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