CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Council President Pro Tem Johnny Cook had proud news about a City employee at Monday’s council meeting. City Garage employee Rod Cook was lauded for his good citizenship when, on Saturday, he encountered an 18-year-old Frenchman who was new to town and spoke very little English. The young man had flown into Birmingham, taken an Uber to Cullman and was prepared to ride a bicycle from an apartment near city hall to REHAU Monday morning to report for a five-week internship. Rod Cook hosted the young man for dinner and called Johnny Cook, who arranged transportation by another REHAU employee for the Frenchman.
Providing the third-quarter (April-June) financial report, Council President Jenny Folsom noted that, while revenue is up by 7.5%, expenses are up by 22.2% over the previous year’s third quarter. She said revenues are still above expenses.
“Most of these were budgeted and planned expenses, things that we were expecting to come that weren’t in last year’s budget such as the new water park, the renovation of Nesmith Park that’s almost completed, the new skatepark design and the plans for the new civic center and sports complex that’s coming soon and the paving on West Main,” said Folsom. “These are all things that we planned for that increased the expenses, but we, like all of you in your own personal budgets, we have been hit with inflation also.”
Sharing an update on the new skatepark construction, Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Executive Director Nathan Anderson said, “We had exciting news come in that we’re going to meet our fundraising goal by a private donation that was made of $50,000 (that) is going to be matched. We have another $40,000 donor, and Dinner on First was very successful. So, we have met our fundraising goal, which I had no doubt as the support for the park has been incredible. We appreciate the generosity of our community, and we can’t wait to get this thing opened.”
Anderson also noted that WildWater, the new water park, has received an abundance of positive publicity. He said the attendance from outside Cullman averages 60-70% on any given day and typically four to five states are represented in the water park’s daily visitors. He said local attendance numbers are also increasing.
Councilman Clint Hollingsworth spoke to the plethora of family fun available in the city and the county.
“We have gotten more affordable options for folks than we ever have, and I think that Nathan has done a good job in the short tenure he’s been (back) here. Whether it’s the indoor pool and the Vortex and all inside of the (Cullman Wellness &) Aquatic Center and to the Slippery Summit that we have out at Palomino (RV Resort) to our new water park. Not just in the city but (in) the county there’s options. We’ve done a great job of making a family-friendly, safe, affordable, attractive, clean area for folks throughout the community. I just think it’s important for people to realize that contrary to what you see on the social media side that we have done a really good job of making sure that we don’t leave anybody out. I think that Nathan has done a fantastic job of trying to make sure people are aware of that, to make sure it’s clean and nice for everybody. I appreciate all of the efforts that Nathan, the parks board and his staff are doing right now.”
Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison noted that additional grants are available to the airport and with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the airport is looking at its 10-year plan.
Mayor Woody Jacobs gave an update on paving projects including Eva Road, Convent Road from Hope Horses, Inc. to U.S. Highway 278 and Welti Rd from near the wastewater plant to Third Avenue Southeast. He also said the portion of Second Avenue Northeast that runs along Depot Park and in front of the Cullman Police Department is expected to be reopened to traffic beginning Aug. 10. The small street between Cherokee Avenue and Olive Street (Patriot Way) was also discussed.
Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff gave an overview of the schools’ progress over the summer. East Elementary School has seen painting, carpet cleaning and hardwood floor refinishing while West Elementary School is in the midst of HVAC and dehumidifier upgrades along with painting and the refinishing of the gymnasium floors.
Additionally, the school system was one of only two districts in the state to be recognized as an Alabama Reading Initiative Science of Reading Spotlight District.
Three special events permits were granted by the council including a request by Judy Caples from the Cullman Downtown Merchants Association for a block party along First Avenue Southeast, Sept. 9 from 5-10 p.m.
Chambers Farm and Garden Supply is permitted to hold a fall festival Sept. 17 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lastly, the Cullman Lions Club’s request to host the Cullman County Fair Parade Saturday, Oct. 1 with a 2 p.m. kick-off time was granted.
In other business, the following resolutions were approved:
- No. 2022-88 to apply for state and federal matching funds for airport improvement projects for fiscal year 2023
- No. 2022-89 to award the bid for various types of concrete to USA Ready Mix, LLC
- No. 2022-90 to award the bid for various types of rock to Wiregrass Contracting, LLC
- No. 2022-91 to renew the lease agreement with United Way of Cullman County for the Train Depot offices
- No. 2022-92 to award the bid for pipe and materials for Warnke Road improvements to Southern Pipe and Supply in the amount of $252,560.69
- No. 2022-93 to award the bid for supplying and installing fencing and gates at the Cullman Regional Airport to Parris Fence Company in the amount of $25,633.00
- No. 2022-94 to join the State of Alabama and other local governments in current and future opioid settlements
- No. 2022-95 to approve change order no. 3 for Aquatic Development Group to decrease the project by $66,225
The following board appointments were made:
- B.J. Morgan to fill Nona Moon’s seat on the Tree Commission
- Suzanne Harbin to fill Tim Culpepper’s seat on Industrial Board
- Tabitha Smothers to CATS TV Board
- Brad Jones to Zoning Board
The Cullman City Council meets second and fourth Monday of each month at Cullman City Hall. Meetings are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m.
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