Cullman ties for no. 6 micropolitan in U.S.

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Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer talks about recent industrial growth in the Cullman area at last month’s Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce 2020 Industry Appreciation Reception. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman has been recognized by Site Selection magazine as tying for the no. 6 micropolitan in the nation in the magazine’s Top 100 Micropolitans for 2019. Site Selection studies industrial development and expansion is cities across the country

According to independent economics research firm POLICOM, there are 542 micropolitan areas in the United States.  A micropolitan is a city with a population of between 10,000 and 50,000.

Cullman climbed from seventh place in 2018 to a tie for sixth place in 2019 based on seven qualifying new or expanding industry projects.  A qualifying project for inclusion in the magazine’s statistics must meet one of three standards: capital investment of at least $2 million; create a minimum of 20 new jobs; or construct or expand a building of 20,000 square feet.

Cullman was the highest ranking Alabama micropolitan. Troy and Enterprise tied for 31st.

Findlay, Ohio ranked no. 1 in America with 17 projects, followed by Tupelo, Mississippi with 10, Batavia, New York with nine and Jefferson, Georgia and Mayfield, Kentucky with eight each. Cullman had seven.

“We’ve been ranked in the top 10 for at least the last five or six years,” said Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA) Director Dale Greer. “It’s a real tribute to the community, to the workforce here. When you have good quality companies and you have a good workforce, then you have potential for them to continue to grow and prosper. I always tell people, every time a company expands here, they have other opportunities. There are other communities asking for them. Many of those have multiple locations, and it’s like you’re winning again when they make the decision to expand in your community.”

Greer said that in 2019, more than 450 new manufacturing jobs were added, 40 industries started up or expanded and local industries made more than $130 million in capital investments.

Over the last 10 years, according to Greer, industries have invested more than $1.1 billion in the Cullman area.

According to Site Selection’s Gary Daughters, “In comparison to the previous two years, Site Selection’s Top 100 Micropolitans for 2019 cover qualifying investments in an unusually wide range of states. Micros in 30 states are represented, up from 22 states in 2018 and 23 in 2017.”

This story will be updated.

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com