Cleveland City Council approves free library cards, addresses traffic concerns with barricade

Austin Memorial Library (File photo from September 2020)

By Rachel Hall

Library Director Mary Cohn spoke to Cleveland City Council at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting held on July 19 to advocate for the discontinuation of library membership fees.

“The library is a service to the community. We don’t charge people coming from out of the city to go to the splash pad or to the city park,” explained Cohn citing multiple surrounding libraries have already discontinued their membership fees for library cards as a model for the city.

A minimal loss of revenue to the annual budget, around $1,500, was not a significant impact in comparison to the ability to advertise to families inside and outside of city limits that the library has a lot to offer as a learning and social hub. Council unanimously approved the discontinuation of membership fees.  

Councilmembers also heard from Cleveland Resident Julia Payne about her concern on issues in the Tanglewood subdivision such as increased traffic, road damage, and drainage concerns especially since the construction of the new Northside Elementary Campus set to open its doors in August.

“At one point it was said that the main entrance to the school would not be on 2025,” said Payne.

Mayor Richard Boyett addressed the construction plan that previously went before council that would add a road that connected Northside to I-69 that was estimated to be a $1 million project during initial planning.

“That new road won’t be built for a while,” said Mayor Boyett. “The price that was $1 million increased to about $12 million, and we need to get some others involved in the conversation such as our state representatives.”

In an effort to alleviate some concerns with increased traffic through the Tanglewood subdivision – with the current main entrance to Northside being on 2025 – city council approved placing a barricade on Mildred Street. The blockade is to deter traffic from trying to travel through the neighborhood to get to Northside instead of using the main entrance.

Other items addressed by council include:

  • Approval of health benefits to continue for city employees for the 2022-2023 fiscal year with the 9 percent increase in premium cost to be absorbed by the city.
  • Approval of a partnership with Pace Stancil to reset monuments that have fallen over in Cleveland Municipal Cemetery with the city and funeral home both agreeing to pay for 12 monuments to be adjusted for routine maintenance this year.
  • Approval of a reduced fee rate of 25 percent cost for facility use at Cleveland Civic Center for Leadership East Texas.
  • Discussion in executive session to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property located at the intersection of Blair Street and Birch Street with no action taken afterward in open session.
  • Discussion in executive session to deliberate applications for appointment of a city manager with no action taken afterward in open session.
  • An update on city events scheduled in coming weeks and months including Community First Aid class on July 22, Food Truck Fusion at its new location on July 28, Back-to-school backpack and supply drive on August 5, Camp Gladiator classes being offered at Stancil Park, and a Senior Health Fair geared toward senior citizens health and wellness scheduled for October 25 – all programs associated with the Cleveland Visitors Bureau.

For more information, visit The next regularly scheduled city council meeting will be held August 16.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. Such a wonderful chance for the growing community. The best librarians who are respectful and kindhearted.

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