Together at last.

After several years of debate over a secondary water source, the City of Cullman and Cullman County are now unified behind one plan — the Duck River dam.

A little more than a week after taking office, the new county commission line-up held a press conference Tuesday morning to sign a new water purchase agreement with the city. The new, 30-year agreement will run through the length of the bond to fund the proposed Duck River reservoir.

The accord has been stalled for the past two years, as former county commissioners Doug Williams and Wayne Willingham were opposed to the Duck River plan. But, newly elected commissioners Darrell Hicks and Stanley Yarbrough pledged to move the county forward on the project when elected on Nov. 2 — and took the first step Tuesday.

“This was the leading point in my campaign and the main reason I even got involved,” Hicks said. “This is what I campaigned for, so the county can work together with the city on this project.”

Yarbrough, who previously served as an associate county commissioner earlier this decade, said he was proud to see the partnership finally come to fruition.

“I worked on this from 2002-2006, and I’m so glad to be a part of it coming together in 2010 and to see it finalized,” he said. “The people of Cullman County have been waiting on this for 20 years, and I think it’s a good day for the city and the county.”

Hicks and Yarbrough were joined by commission chairman James Graves — a longtime supporter of Duck River — in signing the contract.

“This is such a momentous thing being done, we want to make it public — especially with some of the things that have been going on recently,” Graves told a crowd of nearly 30 gathered in the courthouse lobby. “When I ran, I said we would look at a Tennessee River pipeline ... and we’ve recently looked at using Smith Lake ... and there was no comparison, because they don’t come anywhere near Duck River. I’m glad we can come together, unified, and move forward.”

For the complete story see the Wednesday, November 17 print edition of The Cullman Times.

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

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