‘State’ of the city blessed: Rowland
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jan 16, 2014 | 745 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland gave his “State of the City” address to the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland today.

“The city of Cleveland has been blessed with great resources, opportunities and successes in the recent past,” Rowland said.

Rowland spoke of these being the foundation for further success in the future.

“In 2014, our community and the state of Tennessee will continue to work together to unlock the potential along APD 40 and Exit 20 at Interstate 75. Our city will be looking for ways to work with the needs of a growing school system. We will be looking at how to serve all our citizens through our public works, parks and recreation and emergency services,” Rowland said.

He said the success of Cleveland is made possible through partnerships, a major one being with the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

“The ... Chamber of Commerce provides us with the thread that weaves all facets together, as they seek out new opportunities for more jobs, more products and services. We lean heavily on our Chamber's input, expertise and research information,” Rowland said.

“Our local economy has stayed strong in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked us as fourth in the nation in its 2013 best cities for job growth listing,” Rowland said.

The Federal Reserve Bank also listed Cleveland as a city that saw a manufacturing resurgence in the second quarter of 2013.

“We are a blessed community as we continue to expand our industrial base and create jobs for our residents,” Rowland said. “In the past five years, we have enjoyed industrial investments of $2.6 billion, created 1,600 new jobs and kept over 4,400 jobs from leaving our community. In addition, last year, we enjoyed over $122 million in tourism, representing the largest growth in the State of Tennessee. Last year our total workforce went up by 2,920 jobs, while our neighbors in Hamilton County’s total workforce went down by 1,080 over the same period.”

Rowland said the leadership of the Chamber has brought growth to its membership and to the services provided to members.

Growth can be seen in Cleveland in many ways.

“We have seen resurgence in retail with new restaurants and extensive renovations at Bradley Square Mall, plus the opening of the facility’s new ultra modern 12-screen theatre,” Rowland said.

The mayor also cited low unemployment rates, new jobs and businesses and in new buildings such as the Omega Center International. Growth in Chamber membership led to the center being chosen for the Chamber’s annual meeting.

“We are indeed fortunate and blessed to have the new Omega Center International on Urbane Road to help fill our growth needs, thanks to the vision of Perry Stone and The Voice of Evangelism,” Rowland said.

“Sandra (Rowland, Cleveland’s first lady) and I had the pleasure of attending the opening event last fall where over 4,000 people gathered in this awesome facility. Since that time, our hotels have reaped the benefits of a variety of events hosted at the Omega Center, and I see many more on the horizon. We owe a debt of gratitude to Perry Stone for opening up this venue for our growing community,” Rowland said.

The mayor also highlighted the success of the Cleveland Regional Jetport during his remarks.

“Its success has been unbelievable. New customers are coming to the airport almost on a daily basis, purchasing fuel and bringing more dollars into our local economy. One recent event was an international board of directors meeting that we could never have hosted without the new airport and its facility,” Rowland said. “It brought in numerous jets and on one visit purchased $30,000 in fuel from us.

“As a Three-Star Community, we are a proven leader in preserving existing employment, creating new employment opportunities, improving family income, and creating a strong base for economic development,” Rowland said.

Growth is expected to continue into 2014.

“The Cleveland/Bradley County Industrial Park is located about 2.5 miles from Exit 20 off I-75 and contains 330 acres with approximately 30 acres of land still available. The Hiwassee River Industrial Park is a 121-acre development located about an eighth of a mile off I-75 with 20 acres and all utilities available,” Rowland said.

The mayor emphasized Cleveland State Community College and Lee University contribute to the success of the city.

“Cleveland State Community College is now under the leadership of Dr. William Seymour, who will continue the legacy of Dr. Carl Hite, who just retired,” Rowland said.

“Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee University, continues as a visionary to further enhance the facilities and educational experience at Lee. I was honored recently to sit on a six-person committee representing Lee and the community to persuade NCAA officials to accept Lee athletics in Division II ... in the much-respected Gulf South conference,” Rowland said.

With growth, the mayor said local government leaders continue to look at the needs of the community and how to meet them. Finding out how great needs are can accomplished through partnerships with organizations like the United Way.

“The Community Action Network, known as CAN, under the umbrella of the Mayors Coalition, is planning a census of our homeless population sometime in February. This project is facilitated by the United Way and will involve numerous volunteers. This is just one of the many services the United way provides its agencies and our community,” Rowland said.

More of the mayor’s speech will be featured in the Friday edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.