CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The next city elementary school may be built in north Cleveland, a reflection of continued commercial and residential growth in the area, according to city officials.
Three construction sites now anchor both ends and the middle of Paul Huff Parkway. It's the largest amount of simultaneous commercial construction on Paul Huff since the Cleveland Town Center opened three years ago, anchored by Target.
"This is good news for Cleveland," Mayor Tom Rowland said. "It is good for sales tax revenue. It gives our folks more opportunities to shop at home and offers more brands."
The Paul Huff area has become an active commercial district in just a few years, said City Councilman Avery Johnson. Electronics Express recently opened in the space left vacant with the demise of Circuit City, he said.
At the Exit 27 interchange, a Holiday Inn Express is coming soon. At the intersection with U.S. Highway 11/North Lee Highway, an Olive Garden is under way. And between them, work continues on Mouse Creek Crossing, the future home of at least two fast-food restaurants, with room for other stores.
"[Paul Huff] has developed into a business hub for Cleveland," said Dale Hughes, who owns the Holiday Inn. Hughes also owns the Mountain View Inn and is a city councilman.
Hughes has owned the Holiday Inn property for eight years.
"We had not planned on opening a motel back then," he said. "We are a blessed community, economically. We are faring so much better than most cities across the nation."
Rowland said another major hotel chain will announce plans soon to locate at Exit 27.
Next year, plans call for a residential development on Hardwick Farm, facing Stuart Road. On Aug. 22, the City Council approved annexing a 39-acre area along the roadway, after Paul Huff crosses U.S. 11 and becomes Stuart Road.
The site has been rezoned to allow for houses, townhouses, condominiums and apartments.
But developers asked the city to hold off on any further action for six months while plans are settled.
Commercial and residential growth in north Cleveland is one reason why the city school board is considering building its next elementary school in the area.
Director of Schools Martin Ringstaff has said he is looking at growth numbers in north Cleveland to show why the next elementary school should be there.
The board's site committee, meeting Aug. 31, agreed to recommend the school system negotiate for land on U.S. 11, just north of the Paul Huff and Stuart intersection.