‘Be bold and dream big’: City of Cullman developing plan for the future

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Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer at Thursday night’s kick-off meeting for the City of Cullman’s five-year strategic plan (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – The City of Cullman is set to embark on a five-year strategic plan, and this week held the kick-off meeting at Cullman City Hall. Mayor Woody Jacobs, the Cullman City Council, the Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA), various business leaders and other community representatives gathered to brainstorm ideas for the plan, which requires the City to identify a vision, values, goals and objectives.

To help facilitate the plan, the city reached out to Brent Peinhardt of Vantage Associates, a general management consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning. A native of Cullman County, Peinhardt has spent most of his career in the Birmingham area consulting and helping corporations with planning. 

Peinhardt shared, “Because I came from here and so many people helped me, it’s an opportunity for me to give something back. A way to say thank you.”

Peinhardt spoke about the planning process and what is required for the plan to be successful, citing three questions for the City to address: “Where are we today?” “What’s our vision for the future?” and “How do we get there?”

Peinhardt stressed, “Be bold and dream big. Seventy percent of cities in this country that are comparable in size to Cullman are diminishing. Cullman is growing and performing well. Cullman is well positioned.”

The City was asked to submit a vision for Cullman. The mayor and council defined the vision as “small-town values and big-town opportunities.”

It was also asked to identify five values of Cullman or “beliefs that the city holds important as a community.” The values chosen were integrity, tradition, visionary innovative thinking, unity and teamwork, and community.

The vision and values will serve as the foundation for the development of the City’s five-year plan.

Peinhardt explained, “As many people as you can have participate and engage in this strengthens the plan. People in the community need to have a sense of ownership in the plan.”

The plan will focus on five goal areas, with committees selected to target those areas. The goal areas are: Economic Development, Infrastructure, Quality of Life, City/Community Services and Community Partnerships.

The different goal committees, each overseen by a Cullman City Council member,  met for the first time Thursday night to list some objectives. Peinhardt asked each committee to complete three things over the next three to six months:  come up with objectives or outcomes in their area, identify critical success factors and potential barriers, and develop strategies and action plans. Each committee will continue to meet separately and work together over the next several months.

Hear CEDA Director Dale Greer talk about the project at https://bit.ly/2ArOzu0.

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