'... It's vital that we have more parking!'

Posted 3/13/18

The Cleveland City Council discussed downtown parking concerns, enjoyed the service of a youthful Mayor for a Day, and recognized Cleveland High School's state championship wrestling team at Monday's …

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'... It's vital that we have more parking!'


The Cleveland City Council discussed downtown parking concerns, enjoyed the service of a youthful Mayor for a Day, and recognized Cleveland High School's state championship wrestling team at Monday's meeting.

Businesswoman Denise McNeeley, who has a new arts shop in the downtown area, approached the council with her parking concerns, which she said are echoed by others in the area surrounding the Bradley County Courthouse and Cleveland Municipal Building.

McNeeley is a newcomer to the community. Her daughters attended Lee University, she visited the community, then moved here.

"You have a lot to offer here," she said in praise of the city. "It's like a resort, and you have a lot that other places don't have."

"But, it's vital that we have more parking!" McNeeley continued.

She asked council members what the city's plan is for additional parking, and urged city staff (especially Police Chief Mark Gibson) to enforce downtown parking limits, which is two hours in most situations.

Gibson said his staff attempts to monitor parking, and violations, to the best of their abilities. "We continue to mark tires, to enforce violations," he said. After an inquiry, he said the cost of a parking violation is $16.

McNeeley said use of the parking spaces by employees and Lee University students, "Hinders downtown businesses, like mine."

"I understand this is not something new, and I don't know if there's a new plan," added McNeeley. "But, there are empty buildings downtown, and we hope new businesses will come in. But we need a parking plan."

She said she, and other business owners, might consider a small fee (to the city) to reserve a parking spot, so they wouldn't have to drive around each day looking for a space.

City Manager Joe Fivas joined the discussion, saying he realizes there are a number of downtown business owners talking about this.

"We have a consulting firm coming in to do a traffic study, which should give the council some options," Fivas said. He added that there is also a plan to add an additional 150 to 175 parking spaces in the downtown area.

Fivas said Central Avenue is scheduled to be redone, which should add 30 to 40 more parking spaces.

Mayor Tom Rowland, and other council members agreed the limited parking is a challenge for the downtown area, and its anticipated growth.

Vice Mayor Avery Johnson said he has received a number of calls from downtown businesses, concerning the parking.

In other council business:

•  Cleveland High School Wrestling Coach Joey Knox, and his State Champion Raiders and assistant coaches, attended Monday's regular session at 3 p.m.

The Raiders won both the duals and overall championship this season, continuing the state dominance of high school wrestling programs at Cleveland and neighboring Bradley Central High School.

Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O'Bryan accompanied the team to the council meeting, and Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer was also in attendance.

• Walker Valley High School student Garrett Frye, who is studying government, received a huge lesson Monday when he was recognized by  Mayor Tom Rowland as "Mayor for a Day." Frye was introduced by Rowland, and also helped conduct a portion of the day's regular business.

• Rowland read a letter to the Council, which he recently received from Mayor William Durham of Lawrenceburg.

The message was to thank Cleveland's Fire Department, and Chief Ron Harrison, for assisting Lawrenceburg in a time of grief.

Cleveland sent a ladder truck, along with a ladder truck and engine company from Chattanooga, to Lawrenceburg to man that city's fire department for a day.

The Lawrenceburg mayor said the voluntary assistance was greatly appreciated.

• Rowland also re-appointed Steve Burris to the Cleveland Planning Commission.


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