- Cullman, Alabama

October 22, 2010

More to the story than article tells

By Charles R. Kent
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Your article on Sunday, 10/10/10, “Developer: Wet means more” headline — it doesn't tell the whole story. Your views seem slanted towards this project from your story instead of being unbiased. It wasn't a Paul Harvey "Here is the rest of the story" or anything close. 

This developer will see more in his earned income from the big outfits he's trying to lure to "DAMP"Cullman. I ask you now if you have researched with city hall as to how much this developer has even checked on all requirements for him to try to do this. The article says that they've worked with him on another project. I would almost bet (if I was a betting person) the answer now is a Resounding NO.

That 2004 study, who did it and can the results be printed? Yes, I say damp because alcohol is already sold at Terri Pines Country Club. The repercussions of alcohol sales have hit the public golf course long before any votes are cast. Beer bottles and beer cans have been thrown into ditches, bushes and along the nice fairways.  Before the elected Cullman City Council members get a giddy feel-good thought that something big is coming to Cullman, just think of all the county people who don't want alcohol sales to happen in the City of Cullman, which is part of Cullman County. That was evident by the City of Hanceville and Township of Good Hope. It was expected to pass but we all know it was rejected. 

  All churches of Cullman County and in the City of Cullman need to man up, if you haven't already —  some actions are being taken now —  and ask men in their congregations to step forward to take a firm stand against this vote. The wives can back them if they choose. I would hope they would. Contributions for ads against the sale of alcohol I'm sure will help. Bringing another hotel to the 15-acre tract of land will not guarantee the rooms will be filled to capacity each and every night. Look at the hotels on Highway 157 by I-65 , their parking lots are not full every night, they are hurting now with this economy. Didn't the City of Cullman raise the lodging tax on hotels in the city by 2.25 percent in February 2007 after it had been at 5 percent for many years? That lower lodging rate kinda does help the travelers, don't you think, city leaders? Quit giving tax abatements to industries locating here for such long periods of time. Shorten it to 10 years, maybe, not 25 years. Can the city afford to hire more police and will the county have to do the same for deputies?

Will this hotel that is possibly coming be one with a lounge for social drinking? What laws or guidelines and boundaries will be set here? What laws will be set for restaurants that want to sell alcohol when families want to bring small kids? Who will dictate as to who gets to sell alcohol at certain locations?

How close will this new hotel be to Heritage Park where hundreds of young kids play sports and different events are held each year? You talk about bringing more to Cullman but remember not long ago, one hospital left (Woodland Medical) and only one remains, and with Obamacare more are gonna go to the one hospital emergency room for services to over burden the staff there.

Just think about this: alcohol sales being passed will mean more containers on the highway or in the ditches, parking lots, school parking lots, city streets, and people’s yards, church grounds or even maybe getting sneaked into the Carmike Theater, rodeo events, the County Fair — since its in the city — and gymnasiums during basketball season.

What will be the boundaries for alcohol? How about Sportsman Lake where families have reunions. I haven't even hit on the fact that some 21-year-old or older, who  are legal to buy it, do not, I repeat, in many instants do not hesitate to give alcohol to their siblings, cousins or friends who are under age.  To the Mayor of the City of Cullman, I challenge you and the elected officials and the folks that live in the city who will be voting on this issue to really weigh out what is best for the people of the entire county and not just the city. For those who have lost loved ones from alcohol, I ask that you speak out to let others know how devastating it is to lose someone to this addiction. Many already in the military have been discharged due to alcohol consumption problems.

Parents if your trying to get your kid into military service and there is a DUI or DWI on their background check, you can almost be certain a long time will pass before they get accepted. The military still has standards being upheld.

I would want new businesses to locate here but not at the expense of possibly losing one of my family members on a city street or county road due to the driver having been served alcohol from some business only coming here because a vote was cast to pass or make it legal to buy. I say come get a first-hand look at our city and see how we really appreciate our city, and surrounding communities, to see the special place it truly has become. If this doesn't open your eyes to just a small fraction as to what will take place, then you must have your head in the dirt. Also remember the other developer hasn't ruled out coming if it gets voted dry. I can't vote on this wet/dry issue but my voice can be heard.

— Charles R. Kent is a Resident of Logan