With numerous industrial and retail projects announced over the past year, and more in the pike, the City of Cullman has been named one of the top sites for economic growth in the state and nation.

Cullman is No. 3 on Site Selection’s Top U.S. Micropolitans for New and Expanded Facilities in 2011, behind only Statesville-Mooresville, N.C., and Wooster, Ohio. Cullman was selected from among 576 micropolitan communities in the U.S., with a population between 10,000-50,000.

“Our staff is wildly excited about being No. 3 and our goal next year is to be No. 1, which has never happened for an Alabama micropolitan,” Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Peggy Smith said at a surprise announcement held at Terri Pine Country Club Wednesday night.

But, that wasn’t the only announcement made.

Regional publication Southern Business and Development has named Cullman the No. 1 region in the southeast for Overcoming Nature’s Adversity from the recovery following the April 2011 tornadoes, and the No. 6 community that is a Manufacturing Location No-Brainer. This is the first time the same community has been ranked in two separate categories in the same year.

Though state industrial rankings for 2011 have not been released by the Alabama Development Office, Cullman officials also expect to be ranked in the top 10 when the numbers are announced. In 2011, local industries invested $159 million and created nearly 700 jobs in Cullman County.

All these accolades were released at an announcement ceremony held during a business and industry networking reception Wednesday night. The CEDA commemorated the surprise announcements by revealing them on oversized banners carried by the staff. The banners will now be hosted at Cullman city hall.

“Our thanks to each industry leader in this room for making this an outstanding year for Cullman,” Smith told the crowd of business and industry leaders. “We needed good news in the face of last year’s storm, and you have given all of us a reason to smile.”

Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves, who was present for the announcement, said he was elated to hear the news.

“These recognitions are just fantastic, and reflect so well on the people of Cullman County as a whole,” he said. 

Max Townson, mayor of the City of Cullman, said he hopes to see the area continue to rise in the polls and become a preeminent destination on a national level.

“This is such a wonderful community, from the people and the employees at economic development in the city and county who go out and create jobs,” he said. “We’ll continue to seek retail, industry and recreation to make Cullman the No. 1 place to live, work and play.”

 

Note: Cullman was one of two Alabama cities recognized in the Site Selection list, with Decatur being named the No. 1 metro area in tier three for new and expanded facilities.

 

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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