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Big things happening in Cleveland

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    Cleveland Mayor Danny Lee addresses the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce during the State of the City address last week at the Cleveland Civic Center. The Vindicator | Myria Schubert

CLEVELAND — The spotlight was on Cleveland Mayor Danny Lee and City Manager Scott Sweigert last week as they laid out the state of the city, and a lot is happening.

Addressing members of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, topics focused on growth in Liberty County’s second- largest city, seeing a 14% growth since 2020.

The growth has come in both population and economically, where the total appraised market value has increased 64% in that same period.

Lee was excited to address the progress of the new 1,200-acre BNSF Railroad project, which will be the largest for the company in the nation, calling it a game-changer for Cleveland.

One of the growth challenges for the city is the growth outside of the city and its impact on fire services, especially those that the city provides to areas outside of its jurisdiction.

“Since the county is growing, one of the biggest challenges is the fire department having to stretch all over the county,” Sweigert said.

He estimated that those costs would grow to around $600,000 per year, hindering the city from being able to perform those services.

“We as a city can’t continue to do that,” he said.

The city opened Station 2 last year and has exhausted $2.5 million in grant money to staff that facility, leaving the city responsible for the costs of having full-time firefighters going forward.

Sweigert also hopes to see more volunteer firefighters that will support the department more.

On the police side, things appear to be in good shape, with officers learning about the new electronic ticketing system. The city has also added four new Chevy Tahoes to its fleet, with another three new police vehicles expected by year’s end.

Sweigert also mentioned the long-awaited police evidence facility, a much-needed addition expected to be completed this month.

According to Sweigert, the city also works to maintain facilities and improve infrastructure across town. The city has purchased equipment that will allow for in-house maintenance of potholes and other road projects.

A heavy emphasis is placed on water infrastructure as well, with the city looking at around $30 million in projects, but there is hope that some grant money will be available and could save the city anywhere from 50-80%.

City leaders were excited to announce that Frontier Waste Services would be taking over trash collection in Cleveland, pointing out that collection rates would be reduced.

“We will have better customer service and relations,” Sweigert said.

Finally, a new skate park is just around the corner; with the land purchased, the city hopes to see movement on the project soon.