BCC 2035 Plan Prepares for Growth
by Ashley Murphy
Friday, December 10, 2010
Growth isn't always good. That's why you need to make these plans to be prepared for what's coming. This is according to Greg Dale of McBride Dale Clarion, the company helping various planning departments in Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston prepare for what the future holds up to the year 2035. The BCC2035 Project held a public meeting last night at the Museum Center to give an overview of the plan and listen to concerns that may have been brought forth.
Based on studies conducted, Dale said the population is expected to grow by an additional 30,000 people. "This is equivalent to an additional Cleveland," he said. Coming with the population growth would be a surge of potentially 14,000 new households and 19,000 new jobs.
Dale emphasized in order for this plan to be successful, the local governments must work together. He said he wasn't asking any entity to give up their jurisdiction, they just need to work together, get stuff done and make compromises. He also added that the whole planning idea wasn't the decision of just one party, but the mutual decision of Bradley County, the City of Cleveland and also included the Bradley/Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.
Dale wanted everyone to know that if the local governments continue with their current financial path and do business as normal without making significant changes, and growth continues as predicted, a fiscal deficit is highly possible.
This led to Dale highlighting the plan and explaining the areas his company has been pinpointing to try and avoid such a deficit from happening. There have been 3 areas defined, known as Growth Framework Areas, to help recognize the various challenges that lie ahead for growth accommodation and the "unique approaches" each area needs in order to implement the plan correctly and be prepared.
"A Call to Action" list of 10 different areas followed to show the future of planning must involve input, compromises and the working together of local governments. Included in the list:
1. Comprehensive Planning
2. Joint City/County Area Plans
3. Reinvestment, Infill and Redevelopment
4. Boundary Coordination
5. Capital Improvement Planning
6. Economic Development
7. Land Use Regulations
8. Rural Strategy
9. Growth Tracking
10. Ongoing Implementation
After going over the Call to Action list, Dale opened the floor to questions and comments from the audience, which consisted largely of BCC2035 project planners and very few general public.
Matt Bentley, of Bendabout Farms in McDonald, TN, said it was discouraging to see so few of the city and county representatives present, as he would like to see more communication between the representatives and the public, the people they represent. Bentley believed it would be a great step forward to see this happen so everyone can work together and the local government can try to make reasonable decisions with the input of the citizens.
Terry Caywood, Bradley County 1st District Commissioner, said his concern was for #4 on the list; Boundary Coordination. He said he has seen the city annex so much of the county to accommodate for their growth, that county lines seem to be disappearing. Caywood spoke of how North Lee Elementary School was annexed into the city, but luckily kept a county school even though it made it a little difficult for those parents who were also annexed into the city and still wished to send their students to North Lee. He also added how the city has "annexed right up to the front door" of two other county schools, Prospect Elementary and Hopewell Elementary. Caywood said he would just like to see some limitations when it comes to "boundaries."
Overall concerns seemed to revolve around each entity working together and working with the public to help plan the best path for the Bradley County area and its residents. Gary Farlow added that this plan needs to be implemented and not just another piece "to be put on the library shelf," especially after the funding has been put into it.
If you wish to see all gathered statistics, plans and explanations of each, please visit www.bcc2035.com. In case you have questions that can't be answered through what you have read, contact information for each planning department (city and county) is located at the bottom left-hand corner of the home page.