Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism hears community input on future endeavors

Brainstorming on 10-year plan begins with public forum

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Community members watch presentation from PROS Consulting's Brian Trusty (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism’s (CPRST) Executive Director Nathan Anderson and Brian Trusty of PROS Consulting hosted an open community forum on Wednesday evening at Terri Pines seeking the public’s feedback and ideas on the future of the city’s parks and recreational opportunities.

CPRST team members in attendance and accepting feedback were also CPRST Board President Rusty Turner and Christy Turner, CPRST Recreational Development director.

Trusty and his team at PROS Consulting are “walking through this process with us,” according to Anderson.

He went on to encourage everyone saying, “Today is all about just hearing from you, collecting information. Brian does a great job listening and taking notes so please provide all the feedback that you can.”

Looking to develop a 10-year strategy which relies heavily on the community members’ input, Trusty’s interactive presentation sought the attendees’ input on what they appreciated about current offerings and where they would like to see CPRST head in the future.

In the first of several public forums to be held, feedback key words from the participants on the parks and programs already in place included “variety,” “well maintained,” “fun for the whole family” and “clean.”

When looking to the future of what the citizens wish to see CPRST grow toward, prominent key words included “family-oriented,” “funding” and “diversity of activities.”

After the presentation concluded, an open dialogue was encouraged to ascertain what specific activities and sports the public is hoping to see supported by CPRST in the future.

Brian Trusty of PROS Consulting (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

Representatives from the Cullman County Library Systems Main Branch, located on Clark Street, and the Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County attended, speaking out and asking for CPRST to provide assistance to their branch. Despite its location within the city limits, the Main Branch falls under the umbrella of the Cullman County Commission.

Library Main Branch Director Sharon Townson said, “We need space. We need more space to have more activities. We need more space to offer more programs with children who may or may not be more athletically inclined. The building we’re in was built in 1968. We have about a little less than 10,000 square feet.”

Cullman Community Theater was represented by Cindy Pass. Requesting more support from CPRST in the future, Pass suggested a “combination building of performing arts and literacy arts as they have in Hoover, Alabama and one being built in Jefferson County around Warrior right now.”

Feedback was heard from Jennifer White regarding the lack of a civic center, the pricing of WildWater and the filling in of Nesmith Pool which was replaced with a splashpad.

“We just don’t have a public facility to replace what we’ve had for years and accustomed to for years and that was scattered throughout, you know, kind of tailored to the neighborhoods and those populations of people who just don’t have those services anymore.”

Coming to talk about pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States for the second year in a row was representatives from the Cullman Pickleball Facebook Group.

Pickleball player and enthusiast Josh Olszowka said, “Pickleball is doubling in size and participation every year. I have a church group that plays inside every week, and we see more participation all the time.

“It’s something that’s growing and growing. If we had a great place where we could have both indoor and outdoor opportunities that would draw a lot of attention for tournament possibilities.

Olszowka also thanked CPRST for their current programming and how their services enhance the City of Cullman.

“I would just love to commend Cullman Parks and Rec for what they’ve done in recent years. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job really putting Cullman on the map so to speak, drawing a lot of attention to the city and generating a lot of revenue especially with the newly added waterpark. A lot of people from other areas will be drawn to that because it’s a clean, safe place to be.”

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