More wiggle room on the way for Long Beach city employees

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A year from now Long Beach city employees say they hope to be leaving their cramped trailers for brand new office space. On Thursday, the city broke ground on a $4.4 million city hall on Jeff Davis Avenue. Katrina destroyed the previous city hall.  Many city employees are looking forward to what's ahead.

Charlene Strogner works as Mayor Billy Skellie's secretary. She says because Long Beach city departments are spread among several temporary trailers. a rainy day can be a challenging day at work. "

"We have one copy machine that all of us share." said Strogner. "You have to go across the walkway through the rain to use the copier."

Work has already begun to get city employees into a new city hall by March 2010.

"It's a two-story building," said Mayor Billy Skellie. "A brick kind of colonial type building I think everybody will be proud. It's going to be state of the art and I think going to be good for another 75 years for the citizens of Long Beach."

City Clerk Becky Schruff joined in on the ground breaking ceremony. She spent more than 20 years working in the old city hall. She says knowing something better is on the way that could benefit the community helps to ease the pain.

"It's such a good feeling," said Schruff. "We're hoping and praying that the new city hall will anchor our Jeff Davis avenue and our new business district and we'll just see a lot of revitalization in our downtown area."

Mayor Billy Skellie said the city knew it had to bring city hall back to downtown.

"Jeff Davis is going to be beautiful. We felt like stick with this downtown. Let it be somewhat of a pilot building and a rallying point for other private investment which will come around it and be interested in being on the street. It just made sense to keep it downtown leading the way."

The city hall is not the only new city building on the way. Long Beach officials say bids should be awarded in May on a new fire station on East Second Street.

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