Fairview High awarded grant for new track; Colony VFD gets funds to repair vehicles


CULLMAN – The Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) met Tuesday night at Cullman City Hall, awarding thousands of dollars in grants throughout the community for a variety of projects. At the end of the meeting, nearly $100,000 was awarded to fund new educational programs, make repairs to a local fire department and help repair Fairview High School's track.

The issue of the Fairview track carried over from the commission's last meeting in July where they discussed the field's drainage system. Fairview's Principal Dr. Chris Gambrill explained that the drainage system has been inadequate for some time, but a plan is in place to upgrade it after football season concludes. He also said the new drainage system and the new track could be covered by the $50,000 grant requested last month. Gambrill pointed out that it would be a very similar project to the ones that have been completed at Hanceville High School and West Point High School. The grant was approved by the commission, who said they hope to have the funding ready by their meeting in October.

Another notable grant that was approved went to the Colony Volunteer Fire Department. As of right now the fire station has only one vehicle that is operational while three others are in serious need of repair. The commission approved a $12,000 grant due to the timeliness of the issue and hopes to see repairs come quickly.

There was a grant awarded to East Elementary for $12,000 for a new outdoor classroom that will serve as a learning tool for agricultural education. Principal David Wiggins made the case to the commission that educating students on how to be successful in the field of agriculture is important because of how important agriculture is within the community.

Some of the other grants that were approved at the meeting include $10,000 to the Cullman County Board of Education for computers for CARE program and $12,000 for the North Alabama Agriplex for a Food for Life Program, as well as some other additions to its facilities. The commission also approved a request from the Cullman VFW for funding toward the annual Veterans Day celebration to be held at the airport in November.

The only requests declined at the meeting were a $12,000 grant for hiring a substance abuse therapist for The Bridge, Inc., a $12,000 request from Saving Forgotten Warriors for a ranch for homeless veterans and a request for $12,000 for a summer youth program submitted by the Town of Colony.

Funding for CCCDC grants comes from taxes-  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in lieu of taxes and beer taxes. Grants are capped at $12,000 and are not issued for more than that amount except under extraordinary circumstances.

CCCDC board members are appointed by Alabama state legislators.

Board members are:

  • Jamie Speakman- appointed by Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman
  • Bradley Williams- appointed by Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope
  • Acting Chairman Joe Golden- appointed by Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview
  • Josh Speakman- Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle

The CCCDC announced tonight that to maintain the $100,000 reserve fund advised by the legislators, the commission will begin meeting every other month instead of monthly to give the reserve more time to build up. Board members said that with that extra time in place, they will be able to award more than just a couple grants at each meeting while also ensuring the reserve stays intact going forward.

To learn more or to submit a grant application, visit http://co.cullman.al.us/cccdc/cccdc.html. The next meeting will be in October.

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