Cleveland celebrates 'The Big 1-7-5'

Posted 11/6/17

A few hundred city of Cleveland residents and other partygoers turned out Sunday afternoon for a community celebration of the city's 175th birthday.The city received its charter in February …

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Cleveland celebrates 'The Big 1-7-5'


A few hundred city of Cleveland residents and other partygoers turned out Sunday afternoon for a community celebration of the city's 175th birthday.

The city received its charter in February 1842,

Mayor Tom Rowland was among those who enjoyed Mayfield ice cream; cupcakes from Town House Bakery; popcorn prepared by the Cleveland High School girls softball team; giveaways from Whirlpool, Cleveland Utilities and other businesses and industry; and an afternoon of music by the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

It was also an afternoon of official dedications, and a few comments from Tennessee Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Rowland was surprised and delighted by one of the dedications, which should assist him in putting out the continued fires challenging city government.

Cleveland Fire Chief Ron Harrison announced that the CFD has decided to named its new, $1 million quint fire truck in honor of Rowland. The name refers to the five functions that a quint provides: pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.

The shiny new fire-fighting apparatus was  snuck onto the celebration venue along the Greenway at Raider Drive for the emotional presentation.

This Pierce  107-foot aerial ladder quint will be stationed at the city's new No. 6 fire station which is being built on Westland Drive adjacent to APD 40. 

Fire department personnel said the city just took delivery of the new truck, but had to keep it hidden because the mayor's name is prominently emblazoned on the side.

It will served the city, county and Spring Creek Industrial Park, along the new Mayor Tom Rowland Interchange. The interchange was recently dedicated in Rowland's honor by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

"The Fire Department has a long tradition of naming its fire trucks, and we take huge pride in this," said Harrison. "We usually name them for people who watch over us, and it is my honor to name this newest edition The Mayor Tom Rowland."

Sandra Rowland  wiped a few tears from her eyes during the announcement.

"I was completely surprised," said Rowland. "I had no idea. I knew we were getting a new fire engine, but I had no indication of this."

City Council member Tom Cassada said it was also a surprise to him, and the city's other elected officials.

State Sen. Mike Bell said the naming of the new fire engine was a very fitting tribute to Rowland, the longest continually serving city mayor in the state.

"Across Tennessee, most of the people know who Mayor Tom Rowland is," exclaimed Bell while watching the proceedings.

The mayor also had an official dedication of his own. Rowland announced that the Cleveland Pops will now be recognized as the official orchestra of Cleveland, Tennessee, presenting this declaration to band director Sarah Pearson.

"It's great to represent music, and the city of Cleveland," said Pearson.

Speaker Harwell's comments were focused on the city's longevity, and it's reputation statewide.

After being introduced by State Rep. Kevin Brooks, Harwell said, "I'm happy to be here to celebrate Cleveland's 175 years.

"I appreciate that Cleveland has remained true to its values," she added. "I'm also grateful for who you have sent to Nashville," recognizing Brooks, State Rep. Dan Howell, and [state] Sens. Bell and Todd Gardenhire."

"You continue to build on your great heritage," said Harwell, adding that she also appreciates Lee University.

The state's first and only female speaker of the House said she was recently in New York for a bond hearing, and her group noticed a chart of employment growth across the country.

"Cleveland was way off the chart," she emphasized. "So, we talked about you in New York City."

In conclusion, Harwell pointed out, "What I see here (at this birthday celebration) is what makes Tennessee great. Your best days are ahead."

Most members of Cleveland's 175th Anniversary Planning Committee attended Sunday's celebration, as well as representatives of a number of city organizations, businesses and industry.

Sunday's ice cream social was the second of two events marking this historic time in the city's history. A sit-down dinner was held two weeks ago at Lee University's Arts and Communications building, with Lee President Dr. Paul Conn the keynote speaker.

That meal and celebration was followed by a community concert at Lee's Pangle Hall, featuring The Voices of Lee and Cleveland native Jermaine Purifory, who is now a lead singer for the Impressions.


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