old Marvins building

The old Marvins building is seen in March.

A new civic center complex took another step closer to reality Thursday, with the Cullman City Council approving issuance of a $30 million bond for the design and construction of the civic center complex and a planned expansion of the water park at the aquatic center.

City Clerk Wes Moore said the 2.56 percent rate is the best the city's ever received on a 30-year bond and credited the city's strong financial situation and its AA bond rating with Standard and Poor's.

"They were very complimentary," he said. "They said for a city our size we were very, very strong."

Moore said the typical rate on a 30-year bond is closer to 4 percent. With the addition of this bond, the city's total bonded indebtedness for its general fund is now at $45.5 million.

The city has been without a civic center since selling its old one to Desperation Church in 2019 for $3.1 million.

Last month, the council agreed to contract with Birmingham-based Cohen, Carnaggio & Reynolds, Inc. (CCR Architecture and Interiors) to develop construction documents for the project, as well as Cullman’s St. John & Associates, LLC for civil engineering work.

The complex will be located at the site of the former Marvin’s hardware center across from Heritage Park on Main Avenue.

The new facility has been projected to have 100,000 square feet of space, up from the old civic center’s 30,000 square feet.

City leaders said the project would feature six courts with seating and space for large regional and national tournaments, as well as local sporting events. Rooms inside the venue, they added, also would be configurable to accommodate a variety of civic functions of different sizes.

Keeping it cool

In this file photo from June, 2015, the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center was packed as people sought relief from temperatures in the mid-90s. 

Council President Jenny Folsom said the new civic center complex will be "bigger and better."

"We're very proud of being able to do this at this time, and we're very proud of our financial outlook today that allows us to do this," she said.

The city has not yet finalized plans for the expansion at the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center, but said it will be an approximately 2-acre expansion with additional features, including a slide tower with multiple slides.

Plans for the expansion are expected to be revealed at the next Cullman City Council meeting on Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m.

Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 Ext. 216.

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