LONG BEACH, MS. (WLOX-TV) - Long Beach officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to mark the opening of the new city hall. Under a spectacular blue sky, a large crowd gathered as the flag raised for the first time above the building that will serve the city for years to come.
This building is a vast improvement over what was there for years. The old city hall was built in 1958. Even before Katrina heavily damaged it, the building was cramped and inefficient.
Now, city employees have a beautiful place in which to come to work.
Becky Schruff has worked for the city for the past 27 years. She could hardly wipe the grin off her face at Monday's ceremony.
"We are just so happy to be coming back downtown," she said.
For the last five, Schruff and her fellow city employees have worked out of trailers on Klondyke Road. Suffice to say, the working conditions have been pretty miserable.
In fact, on Monday the heat did not work.
"We were freezing," Schruff said. "We kept trying to think of some reason to come down here and do something so we could get warm," she said with a chuckle.
The new city hall's price tag was just over five million dollars, but it cost the people of Long Beach nothing.
The building is two stories, and covers 19,000 square feet.
"The building was part for almost entirely with MDA funds," Mayor Billy Skellie said. In his remarks at the ceremony, the mayor thanked the many leaders who played a part in getting the money for the building.
After the official ceremony, the building was opened to the public. It is beautiful both inside and out, but many realized what happened at city hall on this day, was about much more than bricks and mortar.
"It gives us hope for the future and for our children, and our grandchildren, we are just proud to live here," 52 year Long Beach resident Jerry Taylor told WLOX News.
Right now, much of the furniture and other items are being moved into the building. It should be operation by December 13th.