CCCDC, new commissioners award community grants

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Commissioners Joe Golden, Champ Crocker and Bradley Williams try out virtual reality goggles as teachers from Cold Springs Elementary School make a request for similar equipment for their school. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – On Tuesday evening, the newest edition of the Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) held its first meeting at Cullman City Hall. 

CCCDC board members are appointed by the Cullman area’s state legislative delegation.

CCCDC members are:

  • Cherrie Haney – appointed by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman
  • Joe Golden – appointed by Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview
  • Bradley Williams – appointed by Rep. Corey Harbison, R- Good Hope
  • Josh Speakman – appointed by Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle
  • Champ Crocker, chairman – appointed by the legislative delegation

The commission first heard from a number of people who came to represent numerous causes around the community, including:

  • Sacred Heart School Director of Development Phillip Viverito, requesting a grant to purchase curriculum materials for Sacred Heart School
  • North Alabama Agriplex Director Rachel Dawsey, requesting a grant for the Agriplex’s Food for Life Program
  • Teacher Karen McReath, requesting a grant to purchase virtual reality equipment for Cold Springs Elementary School
  • Cullman Regional Foundation Director Maria Stanford and Cullman EMS Director James Curtis, requesting a grant to purchase cardiac monitors and defibrillators for use in ambulances
  • Childhaven Executive Director Dr. Jim Wright, requesting a grant for educational and technology costs at Childhaven
  • Hulda Schaefer, requesting a grant for reroofing and other facility upgrades at the East Point Community Center
  • Fancher Education Center Executive Director Cherelle Fancher, requesting a grant to expand youth and adult literacy programs at her center
  • Cullman County Economic Development Project Coordinator Tonya Sears, who addressed multiple grant requests made through her office, including:
    • chest compression devices for Cullman Fire Rescue
    • identification cards/badges for Cullman County Human Resources personnel
    • educational materials for a re-entry addiction assistance program
    • a boom trailer for Cullman PALS
    • two chest compression devices for the West Point Volunteer Fire Department
    • flooring and other facility improvements at the Hanceville Senior Center
    • five turnout gear sets for the Joppa Volunteer Fire Department
    • gym improvements at Vinemont High School
    • matching money for grants used to build storm shelters at the Logan and Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Departments

These in-person requests represented only a few of many grant applications before the commission.  

Grants awarded

The commission announced that it had a beginning balance of $203,980.70.  Subtracting a $100,000 reserve balance the commission is supposed to maintain, the body had $103,980.70 to give out.  The requests considered Tuesday night are listed in order of their grant application number.

  • 514 – Cold Springs Elementary School request for equipment for life skills training center – declined, as the principal reportedly withdrew the request
  • 518 – Holly Pond Elementary School request for a security system – declined.  Commissioner Williams explained that grants to schools must be for educational expenses.  Said Williams, “Whether that’s Chromebooks, computers, we can do stuff, books, but a security system doesn’t fit that criteria, unfortunately.”
  • 520 – West Point Elementary School request for Chromebooks for Special Education – declined, as the grant had been given under a previous application number in January 2018
  • 522 – Parkside School request for 48 Chromebooks – approved, $12,000 grant
  • 524 – Cullman Fire Rescue request for chest compression device – approved, $12,000 grant
  • 525 – Cullman County Human Resources request for identification units – declined on a split vote.  Haney argued for the request, while Williams and Speakman argued against; Golden voted with Williams and Speakman.
  • 528 – Good Hope Primary School request for security cameras – declined
  • 529 – Good Hope Elementary School request for tables and chairs for third-fifth-grade classrooms – tabled for a later meeting, after commissioners debated whether this was an educational expense.
  • 529B – Town of Baileyton request for lighting on walking trails in town park – approved, $7,500 grant
  • 530 – Childhaven request for educational expenses – approved, $12,000 grant, with a stipulation that no grant funds be used to pay tutors
  • 531 – Soil and Water Conservation District request for funding for Forestry Awareness Week Now – tabled
  • 536 – Cold Springs Elementary School request for security upgrades – declined
  • 539 – West Point Volunteer Fire Department request for two chest compression devices – approved, $12,000 grant
  • 543 – Vinemont High School request for security upgrades – declined
  • 554 – Wallace State Community College Future Foundation request for a community garden – declined
  • 558 – Cullman Elks request for the 2019 Veterans Day air show – tabled until the commission’s August 2019 meeting
  • 559 and 567 – duplicate requests from Holly Pond High School for band uniforms – both declined
  • 563 – Logan Volunteer Fire Department request for a skid unit – declined
  • 564 – Fairview Elementary School request to upgrade flooring – declined
  • 571 – Cullman Regional Foundation/Cullman EMS request for cardiac monitors and defibrillators – approved, $12,000 grant
  • 573 – Cold Springs Elementary School request for virtual reality viewers – tabled until a later meeting.  The teachers present were advised that they needed to get their principal or assistant principal to sign off on the application before the commission could consider it.
  • 576 – Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department request for community shelter grant match – approved, $12,000 grant
  • 577 – Logan Volunteer Fire Department request for community shelter grant match – approved, $12,000 grant

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, which must be approved by the legislators.

To learn more or to submit a grant application, visit http://co.cullman.al.us/cccdc/cccdc.html.

The commission will meet next in late January 2019, with the date to be determined.

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