Peggy Smith, left, and Dale Greer/Images courtesy of Cullman Economic Development
CULLMAN – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening announced the retirement of Peggy Smith, longtime director of the Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA). Smith, who has served in the position for more than 30 years, will retire effective June 1. She announced her retirement in the work session prior to Monday’s meeting. As the council announced Smith’s retirement during the meeting, it voted unanimously to promote longtime CEDA Assistant Director Dale Greer to the post of director, effective also on June 1.
Greer, who previously worked in the newspaper industry, has been with CEDA for almost 25 years.
Smith is a past president of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. She has been appointed to several state boards, including the Alabama Workforce Investment Board and the Alabama Rural Action Commission. She will be working on a contract basis for the Chamber as it rolls out its five-year plan for the community.
Mayor Woody Jacobs and each member of the council, along with City Clerk Wesley Moore and City Attorney Roy Williams, took a moment to compliment Smith.
Council President Pro-Tem Jenny Folsom said, “Peggy’s reputation far exceeds the city of Cullman. We’ve just been fortunate enough to have her for several decades. She’s well-known and respected statewide, in the southeast, nationwide, even internationally. Always a very humble public servant; we’ve been very fortunate to have her.”
“I call her the Nick Saban of economic development,” said Councilman Clint Hollingsworth. “We joke about it, but she’s a relentless worker; and she eats, breathes and sleeps economic development. It shows, and there’s a lot of people who have careers in this city because of her.”
Said Councilman Andy Page, “Wherever I go, her name comes up. She’s the standard for economic development for the state of Alabama.”
Jacobs praised Smith, saying, “Cullman would not be Cullman without Peggy being in that position. It wasn’t just her, but she was an integral part of the industrial base that we have here . . . her fingerprints are going to be on Cullman long past her days.”
Reports on community events
Page and Moore reported on the state track meet that took place at Cullman High School May 5-6. The event was attended by more than 5,000 visitors per day, and took in more than $8,500 in concessions and parking fees. The total economic impact of the event, including hotels, restaurants and other local businesses, was estimated to be more than $100,000.
Both Page and Moore recognized some of the organizations whose volunteers helped out at the event, including Sgt. Christopher Kraus and volunteers from the U.S. Army’s Future Soldiers program, Falkville High School, Cold Springs High School and Vinemont High School.
Waid Harbison, on hand from Cullman Parks and Recreation, was called on by Hollingsworth to report on the Strawberry Festival. Harbison related the Friday event cancelation due to weather, but noted that an estimated 12,000 visitors attended Saturday’s activities. The two-day total for 2016 was approximately 10,000. Vendors sold around 5,000 gallons of strawberries.
In other council business
A request was placed on the original meeting agenda from a group of Warehouse District merchants, to continue Saturday closings of First Avenue Northeast through the end of the year. Before the meeting, however, a representative of the merchants contacted the council and asked that the request be withdrawn. It was removed from the council's meeting agenda.
Lori McGrath and the Cullman County Bosom Buddies Foundation submitted three requests, which were all approved:
–A motorcycle ride from Cullman Regional to the Bankhead National Forest on Oct. 28, 2017. The motion passed, pending Police Chief Kenny Culpepper’s approval of the route through the city, which has yet to be determined.
–A Colors of Cancer 5K run on April 8, 2018, around Depot Park, starting at 7 a.m.
–A Swamp John’s dinner and Pink Fire Truck event at the Festhalle on Apr. 8, 2018, from 4-8 p.m.
The council passed a resolution to award a contract for tree services at 1302 Third Ave. SE to Reeves and Son, LLC. The contract was sent to bid, and the company was the only one to respond.
The council also voted to hold a special meeting at Cullman City Hall on May 24 at noon.
The Cullman City Council normally meets the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month at 7 p.m. in the Cullman City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend.
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