- Cullman, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

August 23, 2013

A positive project

CULLMAN — In the past six months I have received numerous comments about the "new" courthouse. From the design, to the color, to the new landscaping, everyone has had nothing but positive comments on what was accomplished. However, it was a team effort that brought it all together and produced what is almost a new building. Gary Teichmiller, county administrator, kept us within budget and coordinated all financial matters with the banks, insurance company and FEMA. Charlotte Slatten, county clerk, coordinated all matters with the contractors, construction supervisor and all the offices within the courthouse where repair work had to be done. And, she worked with Gary with the FEMA folks on a daily basis.

From April 2011, immediately after the tornadoes, until the end of 2012, the courthouse was under renovation and repair. Due to the extensive damage to the courthouse from the tornadoes, insurance monies paid for the majority of the cost for all the repair work. Plus, there was grant money for lighting and window replacement.

Eidson and Associates were involved from April 27, 2011, when Woody Jacobs and I met on the sidewalk of the courthouse and viewed the damage. This was within an hour after the tornado struck. Many of the windows were blown out and Woody asked if I needed help to board the windows up. He also called one of his men to check the roof and we then became aware of the extensive damage up there. I asked them for help and they immediately had personnel over to cover the windows and get the blue tarps over the roof. Water from the rain had the potential to do a great deal more damage to the interior of the courthouse. Woody and his team took us through the coming months with almost daily meetings and advice offered on about everything. As we southerners like to say, bless your hearts Woody.

We went for what we could afford on repair work. The blue marble had to come down, the cost to fix and replace it was enormous. Our architect, Frank Fagg, said brick was the best and least expensive replacement for the exterior and that is what you see today. Frank and Charlotte worked together in selecting design and color for the exterior. I and all of you have been very pleased with the outcome. I wanted the building to blend in with First Baptist Church and the bank building on the other corner. I think our design worked well and the "new" courthouse is a very nice addition to the city of Cullman and a dignified presence representing all the people of Cullman County. Again, thank you for all the positive comments and all the work that went into this project.

James Graves



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Letters to the Editor