By Tiffeny Owens
The Cullman Times
The Cullman County Community Development Commission awarded a combined $41,500 in grants to three communities and a Cullman city-based event Thursday.
Cold Springs High School will receive $15,000 to finance the following upgrades at its baseball field: finish bathroom facilities, install a kitchen in its concession stand, add a batting cage and buy new bleachers to replace two sets that are in poor condition.
Trimble Volunteer Fire Department was also approved $15,000 to purchase turnout gear for its firefighters. Another $10,000 was granted to help fund the Cullman Barbecue Oktober Fest Challenge to be held Oct. 12 at Depot Park. Garden City Elementary was given $1,500 for students to complete a mosaic to be displayed at the school.
Cold Springs hopes to finish all the work at the baseball field in time for opening day in early February, said Terri Rice who brought the projects to commission Thursday. Rice is a mother of a Cold Springs student.
“Currently, if someone needs to use the bathroom, they have to walk up a big hill and cross the street to get to the varsity football to use the bathrooms there,” Rice said. “We have a building at the baseball field for bathrooms, it just was never finished. We’ll have to run sewer lines and put in a septic tank.”
The concession stand doesn’t have any running water so all food sold has to be prepackaged.
“We’d really like to be able to sell hotdogs and things like that because the closest restaurant is a 20-minute drive away,” she said.
The current bleachers are a safety hazard with one wooden set rotten and a second metal set warped. The batting cage would give the team’s pitchers a place to warm up before games, making it safer for the crowd nearby, Rice said.
For the past two years, the Cullman Oktober Fest Barbecue Challenge has brought around 10,000 people to the city, including attendees from seven different states, organizers said. There’s even been interest from a man in South Korean who wants to fly to the United States to compete in the event this year. This year, organizers said they hope to add a class to learn how to judge barbecue on the Kansas City circuit.
The State Championship competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and offers teams the chance to win generous cash prizes, points toward their overall KCBS standings and points toward the Alabama Governor's Cup Award.
The CCCDC meets monthly to distribute funds provided to the county from state-collected monies from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and funds provided to the county from state alcohol sales taxes.
Grant applications are available at most town halls in Cullman County and on the Cullman County website at www.co.cullman.al.us.
The Cullman County Community Development Commission’s next meeting will be 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in Welti.
Tiffeny Owens can be reached email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.