The Kiwanis Club of Cleveland let bygones be bygones when Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis spoke at the weekly luncheon Thursday afternoon.
It was only two days after he gave a similar update to the Cleveland Rotary Club.
January program chair Traci Hamilton gave a brief introduction.
“He has been a Kiwanian for many years,” Hamilton said.
“Before Tuesday, when he spoke to Rotary,” interrupted a Kiwanis member to much laughter.
Davis took the podium and assured everyone he had their number.
“Half of you have said you need to leave early,” he said. “The other half is here to hear [Cleveland Mayor] Tom Rowland.”
Davis then launched two videos. One on THRIVE 2055 and the other on recent accomplishments in Bradley County.
The first detailed the private-public initiative of 16 counties spanning the tri-state region of Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.
According to www.thrive2055.com, the objective is a three-year process set to, “identify regional values and goals along with a consensus on strategies that can be implemented for the long-term prosperity of the region.”
Davis spoke on the development of the 16-county region before focusing on Southeast Tennessee. He said he was in favor of development and manufacturers coming to the region, even if it was not Bradley County specifically.
He also mentioned the local collaborative efforts carried out by the city of Cleveland and Bradley County on a regular basis. He explained while the two entities sometimes disagree on certain subjects, they are not always at odds with each other.
His statement was in response to a question posed by a Kiwanian concerning the recent liquor tax debate.
“For the cities that don’t have the school system it is pretty black-and-white ... the cities were supposed to be sharing [liquor tax] with the school system,” Davis said. “It is like a lot of things. You can see it by both perspectives.”
Continued Davis, “They would say that if they had a school system then no they don’t share it with both school systems. They only share it with their school system.”
Davis explained the matter is more gray than black or white. He assured the Kiwanians the matter was simply a disagreement between the county and city, and not an example of normal interactions.
Davis went on to point out the jobs provided by Wacker, Amazon, Whirlpool and other companies in the county have helped to reduce the unemployment rate to 6.4 percent.
Added Davis, “We are fortunate, even though it should be a lot less.”
Additional topics covered by Davis and the video included those mentioned at Rotary Club on Tuesday:
- Building three fire stations to further provide for the safety of Bradley County residents;
- Construction on Interstate 75 Exit 20 is underway;
- Completion of the Dalton Pike expansion;
- The opening of the Hiwassee River Heritage Center in Charleston;
- The paving of the Peerless Road Recycling Center and the Peerless Road Farmer’s Market; and
- Continued investment by Mars Chocolate, Duracell/Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool and Olin Chlor Alkalai.
Kiwanis President Bruce Bradford thanked Davis before addressing the club. He said it is important for there to be good folks in office. He also urged members of the Kiwanis Club to pray for everyone in office, regardless of whether or not they voted for them.