CULLMAN, Ala. – The City of Cullman recently revealed plans to develop a recreational vehicle (RV) park on a southwest Cullman property at 1315 County Road 222. Construction has already begun. The land, known locally as the Burrow property, was once the proposed as the site of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs said the property was dedicated for “recreational use” after it was acquired from the Burrow family in October 2011.
“Parks and Rec’s had that land for several years, and it’s just been kind of sitting idle,” said Jacobs. “That’s where the proposed Bass Hall of Fame was going to be, but the people on their side never could raise any money to pay for their part of it.”
Finding new purpose
Jacobs shared, “There’s been several things proposed there. We were meeting with a lady who used to work for the (Army) Corps of Engineers, and we were standing up on the (Burrow) home place, and she looked down. She said, ‘You know, this needs to be an RV park.’ And she said, ‘It’s a perfect spot.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, dern, we never thought of that one.’
“We got to doing some research, and realized she was right. It would be a good spot. It’s a good trend in the industry right now; I mean, RVs are booming. I know Rodney Johnston (Johnston RV Center), and they’re just doing very well in the selling side of it. That site being so close to the interstate, it just kind of makes sense. It’s got the ponds on it that can be used.”
According to Jacobs, the proximity of the RV park to the new location of Rock the South (1872 County Road 469) is coincidental; he said planning for the park predates RTS producers’ decision to move to the new site. The RV park will be less than 2 miles south of the music festival grounds.
Said Jacobs, “We’ve been working on this a couple of years. That’s (RTS) only one weekend a year. Obviously, you wouldn’t make the kind of investment that we’re going to make for just one weekend a year.”
Plans for development
Jacobs said the City will build the first 50 RV sites on about 5 acres inside the entrance to the property. Long-range plans include:
- primitive camping
- “glamping” – glamour camping in tents already set up with luxury appointments for guests
- “tiny house-style” short-term rental cabins around the onsite ponds
- two ponds: one for recreational swimming and the other stocked for fishing, with kayak rentals
- walking and bicycle trails
- golf cart rentals
- dog park
Said Jacobs, “You give everybody the different kinds of camping experience or outdoor experience, from if they want to set up a tent on the ground, and they can get in a tent that’s already set up, or they want to get in one of the lakeside homes; we’ll put them up above the small lakes where they’ll look down upon that.
“Of course, we’ll have the RV spots that are very nice spots: pads that are basically level, so when people pull in, they don’t have a lot of set-up time, leveling up their units. Of course, we’ve got water, power, sewer and Wi-Fi throughout the park. We’ll have a camp store there. We’ll have showers available if somebody wants to take them, at the camp store, and washers and dryers that are available there, also . . . So it’s a pretty good camping experience.
“We’ve gone to numerous different campgrounds, looking at them and researching them, and we think we’re making the right moves for a very successful park.”
An opening date for the RV park has not been announced.
What happened to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame?
Back in 2013, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame organization announced Cullman had been chosen for its brick-and-mortar facility. Then Hall of Fame Board Director Sammy Lee told The Tribune at the time, “Cullman is on the launchpad and the countdown has begun. You’re going to see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new tourists stop here and make this the destination location in their travels and vacations. I have to tell you, I have personally looked at potential sites in 11 states and probably 50 different communities over the last dozen years and nothing came close to Cullman; not only for the location adjacent to I-65, but more importantly, the people. What a wonderful community. Not only progressive in their forward thinking ways with the educational system and the parks and recreations, but what a clean, neat town. This is a wonderful place to raise your family. If you’re looking for a great all-American city-and we were-Cullman, Alabama is it.”
Then, in 2016, according to a report published on Bassmaster.com (www.bassmaster.com/news/plans-open-bass-hall-fame-cullman-canceled), the board backed away from a freestanding facility in Cullman and had to “scale back our initial plans” after passing a self-imposed fundraising deadline without raising the $10 million needed for its share of the joint venture. In 2017, the board opened the Hall of Fame as an exhibit gallery in “Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium” in Springfield, Missouri. Morris is the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops and built his museum adjacent to the company’s national headquarters. The facility includes the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame, NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and the National Archery Hall of Fame.
The official history of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame found on the organization’s website (www.bassfishinghof.com/history/) does not mention Cullman.
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