Federal funding in Cleveland, Tenn., grows

Federal funding in Cleveland, Tenn., grows

January 27th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland, Tennessee, Mayor Tom Rowland speaks in this file photo.

Cleveland, Tennessee, Mayor Tom Rowland speaks in this...

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The city received a record amount of federal grant money in the 2010-11 fiscal year, according to the latest audit.

Ken Lay from the accounting firm Arnett, Kirksey, Kimsey, Pierce and Lay presented the annual audit to the Cleveland City Council this week.

And on Thursday, Mayor Tom Rowland expanded on the economic situation during his annual State of the City address to the Cleveland Kiwanis Club. Unemployment for Cleveland and Bradley County is at 7.7 percent, lower than in many nearby areas, he said.

"The only real disappointment was the announcement that Sears is closing its Bradley Square Mall store," Rowland said. "It seems sad because of the fact we have more potential customers coming."

He urged people to join those who already have advocated by telephone or online for Sears officials to change their decision.

Lay said the amount of grants received in the previous fiscal year, 2009-10, was a record with $11.2 million. This year it was more than $23.4 million, he said.

The grants total includes $9.6 million for education, $8.4 million for airport construction, $2.1 million for tornado relief, $1.3 million for transportation grants, $1 million in criminal justice grants and nearly $1 million in community development grants, according to the audit.

Lay said $4.1 million of the total came from federal stimulus funds. Education grants included federal Race to the Top money.

"Federal funding for the fiscal year 2012 and beyond will probably decline as the airport is completed and the recovery funds are spent down," he said.

Rowland said that of the 10 metropolitan areas in the state, Cleveland is the fastest growing "and our metro area is reflecting the fifth highest construction jobs in the Southeastern United States."

The mayor thanked the Tennessee Department of Transportation for a lengthy list of recent, current and future road projects here.

One of those projects is an APD-40 interchange and connector roads, funded with city and county contributions, too. That road system will lead to a new industrial park.

"At the present, we are virtually out of industrial space," Rowland said. "However, over 300 acres south of exit 20 will become our new industrial park."