Cullman Co. Economic Development office reopens - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Cullman Co. Economic Development office reopens

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The Cullman County Economic Development department is now housed in the old First Federal Savings and Loan bank in downtown Cullman. Source: Melanie Posey/WBRC The Cullman County Economic Development department is now housed in the old First Federal Savings and Loan bank in downtown Cullman. Source: Melanie Posey/WBRC
The former Cullman County Economic Development building after it was hit by the tornado. Source: CCED The former Cullman County Economic Development building after it was hit by the tornado. Source: CCED
CULLMAN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Three years after the April 27 tornadoes, Cullman County continues on its road to recovery. One of the last buildings that was destroyed in the tornado officially reopened on Thursday.

The chairman of the Cullman County Commission says at this point about 95 percent of the buildings and business destroyed in the area have been either rebuilt or reopened in another area.

With Thursday being so close to the anniversary of the April 27 tornado, that made the official reopening of the Cullman County Economic Development office extra special. A number of local dignitaries and community members were on hand for the ribbon cutting.

The department is now housed in the old First Federal Savings and Loan bank in downtown Cullman. It had been vacant for several years. But right after the tornado, an engineering firm moved into the first floor and the CCED team took the second floor.

Once the engineering firm moved into their new digs, renovations began for the Economic Development team. Those renovations cost about $200,000, all of it paid for with insurance money.

Cherrie Haney, the director of the CCED, was in the old building back on April 27, 2011. She and two others got out of the building about three minutes before the tornado hit. She and others said being in this newly renovated spot will give them new energy and the opening comes at a good time.

"With this being an old bank, we have two automatic safe rooms. There are two vaults in here downstairs and so I don't have to worry if one comes through again. We'll be in the vault," Haney said.

"I think it's a blessing to have this opening close to April 27. It took us that long but we worked together and moved forward and if we continue doing that we'll be a lot better off," Kenneth Walker, chair of the Cullman County Commission said.

Even though the CCED team was displaced during the storm they continued to work hard to serve citizens. They acquired over $5 million in fire grants, community and individual shelter grants. All of those grants went to help other storm victims in Cullman County.

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