CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Mayor Tom Rowland urged his audience to "stay tuned in 2014" during his annual "State of the City" address to the Cleveland Kiwanis Club on Thursday.
In the address, Rowland attributed Cleveland's success to efforts made by the city government, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, centers for higher education and new and existing industries.
"I have said it before, our Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce provides us with the thread that weaves all facets together as they seek new opportunities for more jobs, more products and services," he said.
The fruits of those partnerships resulted in $2.6 billion in industrial investments in the last five years, which created 1,600 new jobs and prevented more than 4,400 jobs from leaving the community, he said.
In 2013, Cleveland was ranked fourth in the nation for the best cities for job growth by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rowland said.
During that time, Cleveland's workforce increased by 2,920 jobs, while Hamilton County's workforce fell by 1,080 jobs, he said.
Tourism also has played a role in buoying the local economy by bringing in $122 million last year, representing the largest growth in tourism dollars in the state last year, Rowland said.
During his address, Rowland also praised the year-old Cleveland Regional Jetport, calling it the city's "new front door."
He cited the facility's importance to the community by bringing more dollars to the local economy through fuel sales and bringing corporate visitors who never could have flown into Cleveland without the jetport.
Looking forward, the community and the state will continue to work together "to unlock the potential" along APD-40 and exit 20 on Interstate 75, Rowland said. Major renovations are underway to improve traffic flow and provide access for commercial transport for a planned 330-acre industrial park that will be located nearby.
Another key issue for 2014 will be to address the needs of a growing school system, Rowland said, citing the construction of a new elementary school and the replacement of Cleveland High School's domed gymnasium.
Rowland ended his address to the Cleveland Kiwanis Club, as he did in 2010, by announcing his intent to seek re-election.
"I've been here a long time," he said. "There are a lot of things I want to continue to be involved in for the next four years."
"It's good to hear a positive message about the Chamber and our city," said Gary Farlow, president and CEO of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. "It's good that Mayor Rowland is going to run one more time."
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.