Celina officials still pondering possibilities on a new city hall




CELINA-City officials here are still debating and gathering information on a new city hall location.


City government has been located on the square in the Eads building since the building that formerly housed city hall and the Clay County Rescue Squad was destroyed by fire in June, just three days after the city election.


Mayor Willie Kerr and aldermen Donnie Long, Don Haston and Joey Locke have been working on finding a new location since taking office in July.


“We need to get something done” about a new city hall, Kerr said at the November meeting of city officials last week. 


After four months of exploring possibilities, and awaiting a definite insurance settlement, two options on a new location appear to be at the forefront:


• Constructing a new building on property owned by the city adjacent to the fire hall just off the square. Aldermen voted at their first meeting in July to explore that option, and plan on seeing a definite proposal on a two-story structure on that property at the December meeting. 


• Buying and remodeling the former Crow’s Nest restaurant building on East Lake Avenue. City engineer Neal Westerman showed the mayor and aldermen a layout for a possible city facility based on a revamp of the Crow’s Nest floor plan at last week’s meeting. 


“It’s just a first stab to see what you could fit into it,” Westerman said. When asked what a renovation like that would cost, Westerman said he had not “put a number on it yet.”


Rescue Squad captain Butch Burnette and several squad members were at the meeting, asking city officials about a possible insurance settlement and payment for the loss the squad sustained in the fire. 


The squad is planning on constructing a 50 foot by 100 foot structure on land near the old rock crusher site just off the bypass, Burnette said, and asked if the city could give them $50,000 of insurance settlement money to help recoup their loss on the building and $65,000 of equipment. 


After several minutes of discussion on any contractual agreements between the city and the squad and possible city responsibility, city officials asked Burnette if he could provide them with a proposal on the new building for them to discuss at the next meeting. Burnette said he could. 


Kerr said the city has received no insurance settlement yet, “just a promise.”