Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
By William Kincaid
Celina Insurance Group celebrating its 100th anniversary with donation to city
CELINA - Celina Insurance Group wants to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year by giving the city a lakeside landmark that will welcome visitors and commemorate the company's long-standing relationship with the municipality.
"We just view that as a very significant milestone in the life of our company, and we'd like to commemorate that, and one of the ways we'd like to do that is present the city with a gift that would be commensurate with that accomplishment," Vince Franz, chief actuary of Celina Insurance Group, told city officials on Monday night.
Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said Celina Insurance Group has been a very good corporate citizen to the city.
The company last year assembled a committee to develop a gift that would have a significant value for the city, celebrate the company's anniversary, be highly visible, stay within a given budget and require minimal maintenance by the city, Franz said.
Committee members noticed no sign specifically welcomes visitors to Grand Lake, Barb Elking of Celina Insurance Group said. They designed a walled patio that would contain a welcome sign and heavy aluminum plaques commemorating the company's anniversary, she said.
The members want the patio constructed on a grassy area along the boardwalk, south of the lighthouse and north of the city's pump station.
"Remember that this is going to be at an incline so some of it will be underground," Elking said.
The wall - likely to be comprised of sierra-colored pavers matching the lighthouse and featuring a "Welcome to Grand Lake" sign - would be visible to pedestrians entering Celina by U.S. 127. Behind it, a backseat, patio and rock fountain would be installed. Two small crabapple trees would be planted at the site.
"The diameter of the patio is 22 feet from side to side," Elking said, adding the two pillars on the end would be 20-inches wide.
The rock fountain would be placed in the center of the patio.
"Actually, there's 6 1/2 feet between this rock and the walls," Elking said. "If anybody takes anybody on there with a wheelchair, a wheelchair should get around that."
Council members were told the city could power wash the structure as long as the tip of the gun was not placed right on the crack of the wall, which could blow the polymer sands out of the joints.
The city would be obliged to plug in the fountain pump, maintain a swath of landscape and provide electricity and water to the site; the patio's lifetime warranty would be issued to Celina.
Celina Insurance Group officials said they would like to dedicate the patio in May.
"I think you guys did a really great job; you did your homework, and I think it looks great," councilman Jeff Larmore said of the proposed design. "I think it's going to be great for Celina - it's going to be a real eye-catcher when people come into town."
"We don't take gifts for grants, we try not to," councilman Bill Sell said. "We appreciate what you've done."
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