The historical society requested $23,700 to aid in continued renovation of the Heritage Center. Committee members decided to award the grant in full.
Melissa Woody said the center would have a positive impact on Cleveland, Bradley County and Charleston.
“We do not have a dedicated visitor center in Bradley County. We have the Chamber [of Commerce], which is a little difficult to find,” Woody said. “[The Heritage Center] is located less than four miles away from the interstate [I-75], and as I mentioned, 60,000 cars pass that exit every day.”
Woody said those 60,000 drivers have no idea they are passing a nationally significant heritage site.
“Charleston was once the site of Fort Cass, which was the military operational headquarters for the Trail of Tears,” Woody said. “General Winfield Scott was stationed in Charleston ... and he ran the entire Trail of Tears operation from right there in Northern Bradley County on the bank of the Hiwassee River.”
HCI committee members also agreed to give the remaining $35,000 to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway. The grant is $15,000 less than the $50,000 requested.
Pat Cawood, committee member, questioned whether the money would sit in the bank or if additional funds would be raised.
Chairperson Lisa Stanbery explained the phases Greenway construction often goes through.
“Some of the legs which have taken place, like the one behind Ocoee Middle [School] which continues into the neighborhood, have gone through phases,” Stanberry said. “It went through the phase we put in, which was basically a gravel/grating phase. Then, when the apartments came in, they finished the path out.”
Committee member J. Adam Lowe said he believed the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway would find the remaining $15,000 for the project.
Cameron Fisher, Greenway board chairman, said the grant will be used to fund the extension of the Greenway approximately a quarter of a mile. According to the proposal information, the Greenway will go north under Mohawk Drive, connecting more than 120 families directly to the Greenway.
The Bennett family donated 7 acres of land specifically for the Greenway’s extension, Fisher said. The Greenway will affect about 400 people directly, according to Fisher.
A third grant proposal, for a Bradley County mountain bike trail, was denied.
“I thought the bike trail presentation was really good. I think it is an interesting project. I think they stated why they need a [mountain] bike trail. They need to explain why everyone needs a bike trail,” Lowe said.
According to Lowe, the bike trail project has the potential to be more.
Stanbery said she believes there is probably an untapped communication which has not taken place. Committee members said they would like to see the impact the bike trails would have on the community. Lowe suggested another hearing in August for the next round of grants.
In addition to the Historical Society and Greenway, Bradley County EMS, Farmers Market North and Prospect Elementary will receive money from the roughly $92,000 offered in HCI grants this year.