Cullman council talks airport improvements; westside park project price dropping

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Members of the Cullman City Council are seen Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening approved a series of capital projects for the Cullman Regional Airport, including: 

  • Reconstruction of the 100 foot-wide runway, upgrading the strip while retaining current dimensions
  • Replacement of the airport’s automated weather observation station (AWOS)
  • Construction of three new hangars
  • Acquisition of aviation easements and land 

Airport general manager Ben Harrison told The Tribune that bids for the hangers should be complete by the end of March, and construction should begin by the end of the summer. The start of the runway project is slated for early September.

Harrison said of the expanded facilities, “We’re totally out of space; we’re completely full. So we’ve got that long-term development plan that we want to do up there; probably take us 15 years or so to develop it out. This would just be the starting point of that.”

The council also voted to lower the budget for the Nesmith Park renovation due to the discovery of items that could be removed from the budget without compromising the project. The council originally awarded the bid for the Nesmith Park Ballfield to Coston General Contractors, Inc. in the amount of $779,544, but Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism (CPRST) found that it could remove a non-required certification while at the same time increasing the structural integrity of fencing at the baseball field, decreasing the cost of the project by $59,000. The approved change order reduces the total cost of the contract to $720,544.

Plenty of sanitation news

The council authorized Mayor Woody Jacobs to apply for a $350,000 Alabama Recycling Fund grant through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to improve Cullman’s local recycling program by constructing a recycling facility and purchasing a recycling compactor with box and a skid steer. The program had to shut down for some time last year as the City struggled to transport recyclables to Birmingham after the closure of a plant in Decatur which the sanitation department had been using.

Councilman Johnny Cook reminded the council and audience that Cullman’s  annual Spring Cleanup is coming March 29 through April 2 and noted that people putting out items for pickup must do so on their regular garbage schedule.

Cook also announced that the City’s recycling program is back up and running, and that anyone interested in participating should contact the city sanitation department. He also pointed out that the City can be penalized for certain common infractions when delivering recyclables, and he requested that residents remove food and food residue before putting items in recycling bins; he also asked residents to not put Walmart or grocery store plastic bags in bins or use those as bags for other plastics, as they are not recyclable.

Additionally, Cook said that if the new 96-gallon trash container customers received are too big for their needs, they can have them switched out for smaller ones. If you need assistance, contact the City of Cullman Sanitation Department at 256-737-7560.

Council resolutions

The council also approved the following resolutions:

  • To authorize the mayor to enter into an intergovernmental contract to receive wastewater from the City of Good Hope, to aid in the construction of a gas station near the Good Hope/Cullman line along County Road 222
  • To authorize the reimbursement of expenditures for capital improvements with future bond proceeds
  • To apply to the State of Alabama for a $100,000 grant Recreational Trails Program Funds to construct a multi-purpose trail at the Burrow Hamilton Farm.

Special events

The council approved two special event requests:

  • St. Paul’s Lutheran School, to hold a flea market fundraiser from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 20, 2021
  • Cullman High School Softball Boosters, Inc., to hold a 10K run fundraiser from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021

Citizen expresses frustration and concern over Biden election

During the public comment section of the meeting, Cullman resident Brian Ogstad presented members of the council a letter entitled a “Legal Notice of Unlawful Orders of Biden Administration and Treason,” charging President Joe Biden and others with treason and election fraud and calling on elected officials at lower levels of government- including the local level- not to carry out laws or executive orders of the Biden administration. Ogstad also presented flash drives to the mayor and council members, reported to contain documentation supporting the claims made in the letter.

The presented letter concludes: “As a result of the overwhelming evidence, we can clearly see that the election of Joe Biden was a fraud, and as a result has no lawful power or legitimacy; and therefore no word, order, policy, or instruction from Joe Biden or his representatives has any authority, power, or legitimacy, and should not be accepted or obeyed in any way. To do so would clearly be an act of treason.”

The council accepted the letter and flash drives but did not respond to Ogstad’s statements.

The Cullman City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month in the Cullman City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com