Park named after teacher

The Airway Heights City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to name the park in the Sunset Crossing development Cleveland Park, in honor of the late Sunset Elementary School teacher Terry C. Cleveland.

Cleveland’s family, including his wife Renee and son Chuck, as well as former students, were on hand for the city council meeting.

“I’m very happy and honored,” said Renee Cleveland. “It was an honor I didn’t even dream we would ever get.”

During his teaching career, Cleveland touched many lives in Airway Heights.

“The community loved him and he loved them,” said Chuck Cleveland. “This was his other family. It’s just incredible. I can’t believe his former students would do this. It’s just wonderful. He would be very proud of his students.”

The council began the task of renaming the park by asking for name nominations from the public, until the end of July.

Jim Patten, a former student of Terry Cleveland, led the drive for the naming of the park after getting a suggestion from a former classmate, Jeff Brady, who was in town for a class reunion last summer.

“Jeff had mentioned he had stopped on his way out of town by City Hall and saw the suggestion box,” said Patten. “He said he had suggested naming it after Mr. Cleveland and we both just thought, ‘Perfect. Fantastic idea.’ I talked to a couple of old classmates and it took on a life of its own.”

Many names found their way into the suggestion box.

“The City Council has always been passionate about trying to recognize different members of the community who have had significant contributions,” said J.C. Kennedy, Airway Heights Parks and Recreation director. “We got quite a few names, but once Jim got this, it was amazing to see the response that came in about 72 hours. I got 64 e-mails from people. It was just amazing and it couldn’t have worked out any better for us. It’s really an honor to recognize someone in the community like that.”

After retiring as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Cleveland taught sixth grade at Sunset Elementary School from 1965 until 1986. He was honored as the Spokane area Teacher of the Year in 1986 and was the first inductee into Eastern Washington University’s Robert Reid Teachers Hall of Fame. Three of his former students serve on the Airway Heights City Council, including Mayor Matthew Pederson and council members Charlotte Lawrence and Don Mitchell.

“As a citizen that grew up in this community, to have an individual like Terry Cleveland honored was really the intent of the City Council when we put the process together to allow citizens to nominate individuals,” said Pederson. “For someone like Terry Cleveland, who had a lifetime of service to the city of Airway Heights, he’s been remembered from generations of students. His consistent and stable education process is just one that has not been forgotten. We saw this through the nomination process from 64-plus individuals getting together saying this is the right thing to do.”

The dedication of the park in Cleveland’s name will be set at a later date.

In other action at the Monday night meeting, the council unanimously approved a contract with the Geiger Corrections Center that will allow Geiger work force crews to be utilized within the city. The city did not have a work crew in place until the adoption of this resolution. The cost will be $350 per day per crew, plus 58.5 cents per mile and disposal fees.

The city also accepted a “No protest agreement and covenant agreement running with the land” for property owned by Joseph F. Daley at 1601 S. Lyons Road. Daley is building storage units for ABC Mini-Storage on the property, which has a partially unpaved road, and he has agreed that he and future landowners will not protest any future utility or street improvements on the land.

The council also adopted a resolution to establish an employee health and wellness program.

The council passed the second reading of the Capital Improvement Plan unanimously. The council also heard from Clerk-Treasurer Richard Cook, who presented revenue sources for the 2010 budget current expense fund. The city will have public hearings on the 2010 city budget on Nov. 2 at the next council meeting.

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