By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
The Cleveland Board of Aldermen recognized the contributions of Anderson Johnson, who has volunteered as a coach for the Cleveland Park Commission for over 30 years.
Stephen Glorioso, Park Commission athletics coordinator, spoke in glowing praise of Johnson.
“He coaches every kid a lot like his own and you’d never know if he was up 30 points or down 30 points,” Glorioso said. “He coached every kid the same. I wish we had more people like him. I hope he’s not retiring but he says he’s retiring. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to represent the city as a volunteer coach.
Glorioso said Johnson won over 200 games as a coach for 12-and-under tackle football and was named coach of the year for the park commission several times.
Glorioso presented Johnson with an official proclamation celebrating his efforts.
“His advocacy and community leadership included straight talk and a focus to provide all kids with tools to be successful in sports and in life.
The board also recognized the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department’s award winners: Parker Noblin as most outstanding firefighter, Owen Kittle for attending the most fires, Billy Carpenter with the Sharp Axe Award and Gene Bishop as recipient of the chief’s award.
Gloria White, a resident of Southland Drive, came before the board to ask for a water meter that belongs to her neighbor to be moved into her neighbor’s yard.
White said there is an ongoing dispute between her and her neighbor as to the defined property lines which has led to several arguments and confrontations.
Keith Christopher of Inframark said that the meter can be moved, but they will need to confirm the property lines before they do so. Christopher also said that though the meter can be moved, the neighbor in question will have to relay the water line on his own to connect to his meter as the city cannot force him to do so.
The board approved the movement of the water meter pending looking at the results of two surveys that White said have been completed.
A public hearing was held regarding the rezoning of 704 Maple St. from R-2 Single Family to R-5 Multi Family for the construction of a six-unit townhouse. With no public objections and no rejections received by community development director Kenneth Taylor, the board moved to approve the rezoning.
Taylor also presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission to develop 27 lots over 10.78 acres on Ronaldman Road. The board approved the measure.
Alderman Gary Gainspoletti asked Taylor to keep a look out for dilapidated properties in Cleveland, including rental properties.
“It’s just a lot of it out there,” Gainspoletti said. “And a lot of that property unfortunately is rental property. I don’t know where we are on our rental ordinance if we need to revisit that thing or something. We don’t need to let this rental property get out of hand because we have so much of it in this town.”
Police Chief Buster Bingham said the new four-way intersection at Lee and Sharpe is now active.
Bingham also revealed issues on New Year’s after concerns were raised by Alderman Maurice Smith regarding gunfire.
“New Year’s night, myself and another officer and a couple more, we went out, just to let you know what we’ve come up against, we confiscated a AR-15 with a 200-round drum magazine in it that they were shooting in the air, along with another AR-15 and a pistol.
“It was an exorbitant amount of gunfire. We were trying to go every place that we could possibly go. I’m going to see about, not just an ordinance, but I’m going to get with our person with the Mississippi Chief’s Association to see if we can’t get something for a reckless endangerment statute to be enacted in the state of Mississippi for that type of thing, because it’s ridiculous.”
Jason Woods, director of the park commission, said that the East Side Park bathrooms have been completed. Renovations for the bathrooms at Sterling-Anderson Park, as well as the installation of a new sign, are planned for this year.
Woods said Cleveland will be busy with visitors thanks to 11 tournaments set up through the end of May. Woods said he is looking to get state baseball and softball tournaments scheduled for the city in June.
City Clerk Dominique Green said the city has received a grant of $66,000 from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History which will go toward masonry and window work at the Cleveland Police Station.