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January 26, 2013

Mayor: City finalist for Bass Hall of Fame (with video)

CULLMAN — Before long, Cullman could be the new bass fishing hub of the south. After submitting a proposal last year and memorandum of understanding earlier this month to house the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, officials were notified this week that the city is a finalist for the project.

With a crowd of more than 150 in front of him Friday, Cullman Mayor Max Townson used the platform of the annual State of the City and County to let the cat out of the bag.

“We were invited today to attend the national convention of the Bass Hall of Fame, which is held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 22,” he said. “They told us we are a finalist and that is where they plan to announce their site selection, so fingers crossed.”

The City of Guntersville is considered Cullman’s chief rival for the project, and Guntersville officials confirmed to The Times on Friday that they will also be attending the Hall of Fame event in February.

Cullman’s proposal features a hall of fame building with an aquarium and a fishing camp which would include involvement by Auburn University. A new civic center would also be attached to the facility, all housed at the former Burrow property on County Road 222. If Cullman is selected, the city plans to share the cost of construction with the Hall of Fame board. The city would then lease the facilities back to the board and retain ownership.

The mayor also gave a teasing update on a project that has been in the works since last year: An annual music festival anchored by country music star Sara Evans, which will build on the success of last year’s Rock the South concert.

“We’ve been working with Sara Evans and they love this community,” he said. “We believe we’re going to get a commitment from them to do this on a three-year contract and we’re really looking forward to doing another Rock the South.”

Officials have previously said they hope to make a formal announcement about the concert by the end of this month.

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