Crane Hill: New Senior Center and CCSO Field Station Discussed at Meeting

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Sharon Schuler Kreps
Our deputies are in their cars, which is their office and they are going from point A to point B. With us adding an office here, it gives them the ability to stay in their district, which helps on response to calls because they are not leaving their district to go drop off reports, meet with citizens or do the things they do every day which in turn keeps a deputy in your community and helps with response time.” 
Sheriff Matt Gentry
 

CRANE HILL – On Thursday, April 21, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry held a public meeting and community social at the Crane Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

After the free drinks and grilled hot dogs were eaten, Gentry spoke about the land that was purchased in the Crane Hill community across from the fire department. In the very near future, a new building will be built on the land and will be used as a Cullman County Sheriff’s Office field station and a new Crane Hill Senior Center.

“In the last five years, our call volume has increased at the Sheriff’s Office over 40 percent,” said Gentry. “Right now at the Sheriff’s Office we are receiving about 117 calls a day for service that our deputies are answering. Our goal is to provide the best service to the citizens that we can, but how can we do that? How can we keep our deputies in their area to serve the needs of the community?”

The Sheriff’s Office has divided Cullman County into seven districts. There are two field offices now, one in Baileyton and one in Good Hope. There is a major need for a field office to serve the western district of our county.

“Right now, when deputies need to turn in reports or when they need to meet people from time to time or lots of other things, they have to drive to Good Hope or the Sheriff’s Office in town. If they are on the east side of the county, they can go to Baileyton or the Sheriff’s Office in town. For us, Crane Hill is an ideal location because of the travel routes. You can go to Trimble, Jones Chapel, Brushy Pond and multiple travel routes simply located in this part of the community.”

The property was purchased with the Sheriff’s Office discretionary funds for $23,900. Gentry met with Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman and told him of their plan for the Crane Hill field office and senior citizen’s site. (The current senior center is infested with termites and has a lot of problems, which will take a lot of money to fix.)

“Our deputies are in their cars, which is their office and they are going from point A to point B. With us adding an office here, it gives them the ability to stay in their district, which helps on response to calls because they are not leaving their district to go drop off reports, meet with citizens or do the things they do every day which in turn keeps a deputy in your community and helps with response time.”

So far, a total of $75,000 has been set aside for construction of the Crane Hill field station / senior center combo. Right off the bat, Marchman pledged $25,000 from the Cullman County Commission. State Representatives Cory Harbison, R-Good Hope, and Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, are also supporting the project. They have pledged $50,000.

Gentry expects the new facility to be completed within the next year and a half.

After a question and answer session between Gentry and community members on Thursday evening, the presentation was over. But many people stayed and continued the discussion in much smaller groups.