- Cullman, Alabama

January 1, 2014

A spirit for growth

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A new year has dawned. The merriment of the prior evening has faded into the past and new plans are afoot in many minds.

On the national scene, American political hopefuls are preparing to embark on an election year that promises plenty of dirt and finger-pointing along the way. That’s the negative side of 2014.

But on the local scene, Cullman County leaders have an opportunity to accomplish much good for the community. Despite a tremendous cost, the Duck River Dam project will move ahead. The area needs the additional water supply to ensure that business and residential growth can continue, and to avoid critical situations during a drought.

An exciting project on the horizon is the development of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The organization, with international appeal, selected Cullman as its permanent home.

The plans at this time call for the hall of fame building, fishing ponds for educational and research programs and a city civic center for conventions.

The location is also key for the area. Through the efforts of legislators, the interchange at County Road 222 will finally be built, which helps industry in the area, opens up development potential for Good Hope, and leads straight to the hall of fame from Interstate 65.

For the Cullman area, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame has the potential to draw a steady stream of visitors from the region, across the nation and from overseas. Bass fishing is widely popular and connects people all over the world.

The county school system will also be headed for a big change as the superintendent post becomes an appointed position. The potential here is to take the office out of the political realm and into a more focused role of leading the school system.

The area is also seeing a lot of new businesses arriving as well as industrial expansion. Business leaders are doing more creative promotions to draw customers locally and from afar, creating an environment for growth and steady tourism dollars.

The past year has shown that leadership comes from different sources. Elected officials are always expected to lead, but the rise of the business community in pushing forward beneficial agendas is a welcome addition for Cullman County.

As 2014 gets under way, a sense of unity and purpose is growing across the area. Continuing to break down barriers and try new ideas will open many doors of opportunity. Cullman County has tremendous assets to use for this purpose, from a healthy education system to leaders who are thinking forward.

The future will remain bright as long as an adventurous spirit continues to grow.