published Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Cleveland/Bradley Greenway input sought

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    Rob Collins, left, and Kevin Stewart settle a tree in place Tuesday on the Cleveland/Bradley Greenway beside Raider Drive.
    Photo by Randall Higgins.
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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — As a city landscaping crew planted trees Tuesday along the newest section of the Cleveland/Bradley Greenway, some city officials were meeting alongside the trail to talk about what comes next.

"We are discussing the greenway and highways in general," said City Manager Janice Casteel.

Casteel, the city planner, engineer and others took Federal Highway Administration visitors to Raider Drive where the landscaping was taking place.

While hundreds attended a luncheon in November commemorating the 10th anniversary of the greenway, planners now are getting some comments that question any future publicly funded parks and greenways.

Members of MainStreet Cleveland were startled to learn that some people have spoken out against future public-funded parks and greenways.

"We suspect there are other public opinions," said Bradley County Planner Corey Divel. "But we can't make up what we think the public wants. And if that's all we hear, that's what we have to report."

In Bradley Square Mall's community room, planners have set up a display of maps and documents projecting future growth in the city and county and how to deal with it. The planners are standing by today, as they were Tuesday, to hear from the public.

It's all part of developing the county's 2035 Comprehensive Growth Plan, which looks at everything from transportation to residential patterns and even recreation.

The consultants' year-long study in 2011 concluded that Bradley County can expect 32,000 more people, 19,000 more jobs and 14,000 more homes by 2035.

To meet the challenge, the cities of Cleveland and Charleston plus Bradley County began updating their long-range plans this year. They are adding three detailed but smaller area plans, too: the Exit 20/McDonald area, the Mouse Creek Road/Charleston area and Cleveland's central business district.

On Tuesday, Barbara Knight came to speak up for the south end of Bradley County.

"The north end gets a lot more than we do," she said. "I am concerned about Exit 20 and McDonald."

The greenway, which is being developed in the north end of Cleveland, is just one example of the focus on the northern part of Bradley, Knight said.

"We want to see a south greenway, too," she said.

The new section being worked on Tuesday allows the greenway to cross Raider Drive and continue behind the Cleveland High School baseball field. In all, four miles of continuous trail are complete, Casteel said. Work continues to secure more rights-of-way to continue toward the goal set 10 years ago: a walking trail to the Hiwassee River.

Donnie Harwood, president of the Tea Party of Bradley County, also was at the mall Tuesday to read the material and make a public comment.

"My main concerns are property rights and costs," said Harwood, cautioning that the country is "moving into a pack-'em-and-stack-'em mentality."

Public "open spaces" are a part of the overall United Nations plan called Agenda 21, Harwood said.

Agenda 21 is a plan first brought up in 1992 to deal with sustainable growth in developing countries, but some conservatives contend it's a plan for world domination. The Republican National Convention called it a plan of "extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control."

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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