Rave reviews for 2017 State of Our Communities event

Loretta Gillespie

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail with Cullman City Councilwoman Jenny Folsom

CULLMAN – “The people were so warm and inviting,” said Colony Mayor Donnis Leeth. “Chamber Director Leah Bolin had everything set up so well, and the food was spectacular,” he said with a smile.

“This event is a sign of progression,” said Colony resident Ethel Alexander. “The venue is very beautiful and the educational part was very informative, but my favorite part was the health care sessions for seniors,” she continued. “This brought people together and offered people a chance to see what Cullman County has to offer.”

Alexander’s sentiments were echoed throughout the building during Friday’s day-long event, the 2017 State of Our Communities forum put on by the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. The Cullman Civic Center was completely revamped and resembled the lobby and conference rooms of major hotel and convention centers. With hobnailed wooden doors, and the rustic rock-faced walls and stage, the interior looked nothing like its former incarnation as a gym.

Cullman City Parks and Recreation (CP&R) Marketing & Recreation Programs Director, Waid Harbison, was pleased with the turnout, and with the comments he heard throughout the day. CP&R worked with the Chamber to put the event together. “This is just the kind of event we want to encourage here,” he said. “Everyone just seems to have fallen in love with the décor and the event. Every comment I’ve heard has been very positive.”

At the Cullman Power Board table, Joyce Bates admitted that she didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the event. “We’ve had a great time. I hope this will turn into a regular event.”  

“The vendors really went all out for this event,” added her husband, Ken.

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail was happy with the way the event showcased the city of Hanceville and the other communities. “It allows people to really talk and ask questions. It gives people the opportunity of looking me in the eye and asking me questions or voicing their concerns. I like that interaction,” said Nail.

At the next booth, NARCOG (North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments) representatives were also very complimentary about the way the event was put together. “It connects us to the communities we serve,” said Outreach Coordinator, Cissy Pearson. “There was a full house at one point.”

The event was structured so that it brought consumers and providers to the same place so that they might better understand one another. It was a successful venture that included breakfast and lunch, catered by Freddie Day Catering. Everyone was especially complimentary of the food.

Look for feature stories soon on the various sessions and vendors showcased today. Major session topics included the State of Education, State of Healthcare, State of Local Government and State of Public Safety. There was also be a “Meet Your Local Mayors” session. Representatives from agencies and organizations related to human services, utilities and tourism were set up in the breakout rooms and provided information and demonstrations.

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