The Cullman area is undergoing changes — good changes — as people from across the state and other areas turn their eyes toward the unique qualities of our community.

Cullman was in reasonably good condition following the Great Recession of just a few years, but when a series of destructive tornadoes plowed through the area, there was concern about how to rebuild and move forward. Many local officials, business leaders and citizens devoted to the sense of great community that exists here were determined that devastation would be converted into something positive and lasting.

In the six years since the tornadoes, Cullman has seen major expansions by existing industries. New retail businesses and restaurants have chosen our communities to create new opportunities. Locally created events such as Bloomin’ Festival, the Strawberry Festival and Rock the South are growing each year.

We now have good problems to solve in Cullman. The business and medical communities in Cullman are regional draws. Hanceville, the area’s second largest city, is taking innovative steps to attract and sustain more business and convenience for residents and the student population at Wallace State Community College. Good Hope is growing and moving forward with the addition of the interchange from Interstate 65.

Seeing the many efforts unfolding to create opportunities for local residents and the desire to attract more visitors and families to Cullman County, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce has initiated a five-year plan to bring organization and assistance to these many efforts.

In the final analysis, local leaders are working at many levels to establish foundations that will bring benefits today and tomorrow for the people who live in Cullman County.

Many factors come into play when people choose to visit or move to a community. That is happening in Cullman County. Whether it is religious retreats of St. Bernard Abbey or an international music festival such as Rock the South, people are flocking to this area and coming back again.

As we move forward and support the efforts to ensure our community’s future, it is important that all of us welcome new ideas and efforts. There are a few people who don’t support the need to plan and implement changes, but new directions are not bad directions if the end brings benefit to the upcoming generation.

Changing the values and strong sense of community is not something that anyone wants. Those are building blocks that allow growth and sustainability.

There will be bumps along the road to the future, but we should be enthusiastic and committed to ensuring that opportunities exist today and for our heirs to this great community.

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