The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (BFHOF) board of directors announced last night the completion of a decade-long, exhaustive quest to secure a permanent home with the selection of Cullman, Alabama as the future site of the Hall, with work to commence immediately. The selection of Cullman was announced at the BFHOF 2013 Induction Dinner, held concurrently with the Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The BFHOF will be constructed as a joint project with the City of Cullman and Cullman County – along with support from the city of Good Hope – a project that includes an adjacent civic/convention center, all of which will be housed on the 110-acre parcel known as the Burrow property. The BFHOF will enjoy a dedicated 30 acres of the property, which will include ponds, gardens and an aquatic education center. The entire project is estimated to cost in excess $17 million with structures that will encompass 101,000 square feet.
The city of Cullman sits directly alongside Interstate 65 – the main north-south thoroughfare in the southeastern United States with traffic that exceeds 40,000 vehicles per day. Not coincidentally, the state of Alabama recently confirmed it will complete a new interchange along I-65 for Cullman. The BFHOF will be located within a half-mile of this new interchange.
The choice of Cullman thus places the BFHOF not only within Alabama – the epicenter of bass-fishing culture and history – but directly adjacent to the main tourist thoroughfare through the heart of that same bass-fishing country. Furthermore, the choice of Cullman strategically positions the Hall centrally within the Alabama Bass Trail – next door to Lewis Smith Lake and within 90 minutes of Lakes Guntersville, Logan Martin and Pickwick.
The selection process was hotly contested. BFHOF officials have long been in visitation with high-ranking officials in differing states and communities. As the time for a decision drew near, Cullman’s position as a community on the rise, with the financial means to secure and expend the necessary capital, as well as its geographic location and recent accolades for its parks and recreation management, tipped the scales.
The BFHOF will begin a capital campaign in earnest to support its portion of the partnership and calls for the support of the fishing industry in this groundbreaking endeavor.
In announcing the news, BFHOF board president Sammy Lee stated: “For too long have the heroes of this sport gone unrecognized. Bass fishing is America, and finally the glory, the grind, the sacrifice, the grace, art, creativity and triumph of its participants will enjoy a permanent, hallowed home of celebration. I cried when the board voted to select Cullman and to fulfill the original vision of founding boardmember Bill Fletcher. Of all the joys I’ve experienced in my life, delivering this announcement ranks among the few highest. We are truly blessed to have found such a partner as Cullman. Our sport deserves the very best, and that’s what we have with Cullman.”
Cullman mayor Max A. Townson, who was instrumental in cementing the partnership, stated: “We’re honored to be selected as the site for the BFHOF from among all of the potential locations across the United States. We’re excited about the affiliation with the Hall of Fame and I can assure you that the Hall of Fame board and the bass-fishing industry will be proud to have the Cullman community as a partner. We’re committed as a community to making the Hall of Fame successful and believe your complex, as a part of a Cullman convention and civic center, will be a great tourism venture for Cullman, the State of Alabama and the entire country.”
Alabama governor Robert Bentley added: “Alabama has some of the best bass fishing in the world. We’re a top destination for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. We recently launched the Alabama Bass Trail. And now, the addition of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a natural fit for our state. We look forward to welcoming people to Cullman to visit the Hall of Fame. I appreciate everyone who worked together to make this announcement a reality.”
The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to all anglers, manufacturers, tackle dealers, media and other related companies who further the sport of bass fishing. Support the BFHOF by coming a member. Call 888.690.2277 for more information.
Image courtesy Bass Fishing Hall of Fame