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Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Celina departments moving

By William Kincaid

City employees move furniture into the former First Financial Bank building at 2. . .

CELINA - The city has taken possession of the former First Financial Bank at 225 N. Main Street, but it will take a few months until most of the municipal offices are moved.
Several city employees have begun moving furniture and other items into the building purchased by the city for $1.95 million. The police department will be transferred first and settle into the basement of the 36,000-square-foot building.
"There's no overtime being involved in this," Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said this morning. "It's definitely a combined effort of people."
Hazel said the police department likely will be moved in by July.
"They're the number one department that we have slated to move in first," he said, noting that the cramped quarters of the police department - with witnesses, victims and suspects often having to fill out reports or talk to officers in the hallway - were the catalyst for buying the building.
The police department will have 14,000 square feet of space and have access to various safes to store evidence.
"We have a great area for evidence so the police department will be able to get their evidence in line," Hazel said.
Before that can happen, all of the phone lines and other technology infrastructure must be working, he said.
All other city departments except the municipal court and fire department, which will stay in city hall, will move; a grand opening and public open house are slated for September.
Until then, the public will continue using the current facilities, including the utility building at 426 W. Market St.
Hazel will issue press releases and include updates in the city newsletter when other departments are ready to open. He stressed that there will not be any breaks in service.
City council members agreed to purchase the building in March. Many members said it was a good move for the city, and some called it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The city borrowed internally from the electric fund, which has a $8.96 million balance, to acquire the building. It will pay itself back over seven years at a fixed annual rate of 0.21 percent, with revenue from the water, wastewater and general fund.
The city plans on selling the utility building on Market Street once all of the departments move. The building was purchased in 1962 for $108,000 and is currently assessed at $260,000.
First Financial Bank will begin construction of a new facility at 1942 Havemann Road in Celina Harbor Square in late June. It is expected to be completed in the fall, according to bank spokeswoman Jenny Keighley.
The bank is continuing normal operations at its Celina branches, and clients can expect the same service during construction of the new banking center, she said.
"To provide added convenience during the construction of the new office at Harbor Square, the bank opened the lobby at its Fayette Street drive-thru office for clients' transactions and new accounts," she said.
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