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Celina Mayor Proposes Property Donation Partnership To School System

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Celina Mayor Proposes Property Donation Partnership To School System

Celina Mayor Luke Collins approached the Clay County Board of Education about a partnership to open a new park.

Collins asked the board if it would be interested in donating the old high school gym property to the city. Director of Schools Matt Eldridge said he is bringing in an engineer to look over the property, before making a commitment.

“If the gymnasium can be repaired, that may be what the board wants to do is repair it and use that gym for some of the summer programs,” Eldridge said. “Let the kids come in and play ball and open that up in that area or if we can’t do that, if it’s let’s say been condemned, I’m not saying it has been because it’s not been used in several years.”

Eldridge said there will be no cost on having an engineer look at the property but the system has to consider what costs would be to either tear down or rennovate the gym. Collins said he is looking to add a second park to the city because of the red tape from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Corps of Engineers is happy to let us mow it, they’re happy to let us clean the bathrooms but if we want to do anything we’ve got to get their permission,” Collins said. “It is a very, very lengthy process. That’s to put a sign in the ground, if we pull up a post and try to put another post back in that same hole it takes about two years, whether they tell you yes or now.  So we’re not satisfied with that situation.”

Collins said the partnership would be between the school system, Clay County, Celina and private industry. Collins said the goal would be to have the school system donate the property, with the other three partners putting $25,000 towards the new park.

“Build a splash pad there, some bathrooms there and a playground there,” Collins said.

Eldridge said the property has likely not been in use since 2005. He said one significant cost on the project could be the potential for asbestos because of when the building dates back to.

“I know there’s probably some issues through the Fire Marshal then it might be to go another way,” Eldridge said. “It will be their (Board of Education) decision what they decide to do, whether it’s donate it to the city or keep it and use it for programs here.”

Eldridge said that creating another park for Celina is a good idea. Many members of the board of education mentioned the gymnasium being in bad condition, citing overgrowth and issues with the chimney.


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