By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
From medical clinics, to new businesses, to the County Road 222 interchange, there was a wide variety of topics discussed among area mayors Friday.
The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual State of the Community address at Stone Bridge Farms, allowing the mayors to discuss the progress of their towns in the past year, and visions for the future.
This year’s event featured three new mayors in Colony’s Vernon Fields, Fairview’s Dale Seals, and Garden City’s Tim Eskew.
Seals said several things were beginning to take shape in Fairview, including the construction of the Brandin’ Iron, which is expanding from its current location in West Point.
“It’s going to happen,” Seals said. “They’ve been working very diligently, but, with the weather we’ve had, it’s hard to work.”
In addition, he mentioned several road projects on tap.
“We have some new roads that are going to be built leading into our new park. We also were able to obtain some ATRIP money to complete Highway 55, which is the road that leads to Holly Pond.”
He credited the town’s former mayor of 16 years, Randall Shedd, for leaving the town in such a good position.
“Randall created a great foundation for us in Fairview to build on. It’s wonderful to be able to walk into the position I’m in right now.”
Meanwhile, in Garden City, Eskew said the town is finishing up with putting in 6,500 feet of new water lines.
“We’re hooking up the customers right now,” he said. “If the weather will break, we hope to finish work on that.”
A few miles down the road in Hanceville, the city is awaiting the grand opening of Jack’s, which is expected to take place this coming week according to mayor Kenneth Nail. He also touched on the economic impact the new and existing businesses are having on the area.
“I’m so proud of our accomplishments,” Nail said.
Good Hope mayor Corey Harbison feels the main thing beneficial to the his city at the moment is the County Road 222 interchange, noting that once its complete, it should be beneficial to everyone in Cullman County. It’s also initiated a new facade program for the city.
“I kind of like to look to the future,” Harbison said. “I want our county, and our city to be an attractive place so that when people get off in Good Hope, I want them to say, ‘Man, this is a nice community.’”
He noted so far, two buildings were up to standard.
“It’s going to take a while to get the 304 exit up to standards, but it’s going to be there for the fresh start of 305 at the 222 interchange, so that will make it a nice attraction.”
As was reported on several weeks ago, mayor Johnny Dyar noted the town of Baileyton will soon start work on putting canopies over a number of bleachers at the ballpark.
“We have so many elderly that have skin cancer,” Dyar said. “So this will allow for shade from the sun for them and others.”
He also noted the recent completion of the town’s senior center, and future hopes were building a storm shelter next to it.
Mayor Melba Patton of South Vinemont touched on the near completion of her town’s $1.3 million sports complex.
“If the rain will hold off for a few days, we plan to open in April,” she told those in attendance.
When finished, the two-and-a-half story concession stand will include an office space, an assembly area, an umpire changing room, and a score keeping area. The new sports complex will also have three fields ready, two of which will be lit. Up until now, teams have had to share the same facility with the Vinemont High School softball team.
Holly Pond mayor Herman Nail and West Point mayor Kenneth Kilgo noted each of their towns are taking an aggressive approach to annexation of surrounding communities. Meanwhile, in Colony, Fields said he feels his town is on the right path, and with the support of those in Cullman County, “I think we’ll make it.”
Dodge City mayor Tawana Canada was unable to attend Friday’s event.
Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org