CLEVELAND - The White County Board of Commissioners, disgusted with action taken by the Cleveland City Council a week ago to not allow for a one-way street alongside the Freedom Park being built in downtown Cleveland, has voted to return money given by the city for their participation in the project.
During a Monday-afternoon meeting, White County Commissioner Terry Goodger told commissioners that following a closed session at the end of last week's city council meeting, the council voted to disallow the proposed one-way street at the park. He said the council has known about the one way street for two and a half years.
Goodger said the one-way street had the blessings of the Georgia Department of Transportation, Cleveland Methodist Church officials, and others. The decision by the city comes as the county is ready to pave street and parking areas at the park.
Commission Chairman Travis Turner talked about the timing.
"I find it very odd that this situation has arisen less than a week or so from actual paving of the road," Turner said. "It makes absolutely no sense."
Commissioner Lyn Holcomb also expressed his displeasure.
"I'm very disappointed," Holcomb said.
Commissioner Craig Bryant made a motion, seconded by Holcomb, to refund the city's $144,744 in participation funds. All the commissioners except Goodger voted in favor of the motion.
Contacted Monday night, Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley said he really didn't want to comment on the decision by county commissioners to refund the money.
Stanley did say the city's decision was based on the recommendation of Cleveland Police Chief John Foster.
"He was afraid if we got two streets there that are one-way what it was going to do to the other streets, so far as traffic is concerned," Stanley said.
The mayor said he didn't know if or when he could get the council together to reconsider the issue.
Goodger said he would continue trying to get the city council to reconsider.