- Cullman, Alabama

February 25, 2013

EDITORIAL: The area’s big catch

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The official word that Cullman will be home to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame came out of Tulsa, Okla., Friday night.

At the organization’s annual awards banquet, Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s director, Sammy Lee, said the announcement was a lifetime dream. And along with this dream for bass fishing enthusiast, Cullman was recognized as the perfect location for the museum and the interactive features that will accompany the brick and mortar.

As the most recognizable city along Smith Lake, Cullman also boasts a busy interstate to draw traffic into the market. The City of Cullman, Cullman County, Good Hope and the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce have put a lot of planning and effort into landing the hall of fame. Alongside their effort was strong pushing from state Sen. Paul Bussman to ensure that the state would follow through with giving the green light to an Interstate 65 interchange at County Road 222, about one mile from the proposed location of the hall of fame.

The state highway director and Gov. Robert Bentley both got behind the CR 222 project, and by Friday night the governor had offered his congratulation on landing the hall of fame.

The arrival of this potential major tourist attraction opens a wealth of opportunities for the community. Retail businesses and restaurants will have a shot at drawing lucrative tourist dollars. Hotels will fill more beds. The chamber of commerce will have more to market. And combined with coming events such as Rock the South, along with existing festivals, the Cullman area has just become a significant destination both on a regional and national level. In fact, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame will actually carry international appeal because of the wide love and support for bass fishing around the world.

Finally, area leaders — both political and community — can reflect on how important cooperation is for gaining prosperity. The fact that the Bass Hall of Fame was approached as an areawide project should be a foundation for growth and sustainability from this time forward.