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Council Authorizes Search for New School Site
by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dominating the City Council's meeting Monday afternoon, was a discussion surrounding land for possibly building a new city elementary school. Approximately 15 acres is needed to house a 72,500 square foot building. There seemed to be a lot of questions and doubts about how to make this happen.

Councilman George Poe believed the city already had suitable property, and that there should be no reason to have to pay for another piece of land. His suggestion was taking a portion of the Hardwick Field Airport property. However, the fact that the airport will be sold through the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the federal grant package for the new airport seems to complicate things a bit for the city.

Councilman Richard Banks then put forth a motion to authorize the Cleveland City School Board to look at "several options on suitable property, approximately 15 acres, for a new elementary school. And after obtaining those options, come back before the council with any requests..."

Councilman Bill Estes said he was agreeable with the motion, but the $10,000 cap placed on the options seemed unreasonable. He stated the council can't tell the school board what to do, therefore, the price should be to the school board's choosing since they would be paying for it.

Due to several questions left unanswered regarding the monetary placement, Estes voted no. Councilman Charlie McKenzie was the second "no" vote on the motion. Even after his belief that land was already in hand by the city, Poe voted "yes," passing the motion 5-2.

In other business, the city decided to eliminate the Traffic Engineering Division of the Public Works Department. After the influx of complaints about traffic light issues recently, all responsibility for the design, layout, specifications of equipment, and traffic controller time settings for all installations, signal synchronization, and changes or removals of any school zone or traffic control facility will be contracted with Cleveland Utilities.

Two positions, Traffic Engineer and Signal Technician, will be eliminated within the Public Works Department. All remaining duties once performed by these positions will be spread out over to other employees of the Public Works Department or contracted out.

This contract is set to become effective January 1, 2011.

The City Council will meet again on November 22nd at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Cleveland Municipal Building.

Note: City offices will be closed November 11th in observance of Veteran's Day. Also, a Veteran's Day event will be held at 11 a.m. on November 11th in Johnston Memorial Park.