BY LEANN DILBECK –
Mena Mayor George McKee met with insurance adjusters Monday afternoon after a portion of the plaster ceiling in Mena’s City Hall collapsed. Fortunately, no one was present in the offices affected and no one was injured in the incident.
The area affected was the Animal Control and Code Enforcement Offices, which were not slated to receive any ceiling repairs during the century old building’s on-going renovation project. Employees said the crashing noise rolled for what seemed like minutes and dust filled the building. Contractors estimated the weight of the plaster to be an estimated 4,500 pounds.
The offices currently have drop ceilings and the cracks in the plaster had been undetected. It was determined that the area directly above the Mayor’s office had also been compromised.
McKee said his greatest concern is the health and well being of the City’s employees. After consulting with Brian Hebert, McKee said Hebert considers the building to be safe to continue operations in.
Long-time City employees said that this same type of incident occurred in the 1980’s to the ceiling in the council room. McKee explained that the wire mesh that holds the plaster had begun deteriorating and was undetectable.
Insurance adjusters for both MSBI and the City surveyed the damage but have not yet determined who will be liable.
McKee reported on Tuesday that the municipal league had given the City the approval to begin repairs immediately. McKee also reported that the phone lines for the Code Enforcement office and the Animal Control Office are currently not working due to the damage and encourages residents who need service from either Animal Control or Code Enforcement to please call Mena City Hall’s main number – 479-394-4585.
McKee said that MSBI has already begun the repair work to the building and that Mena City Hall remains open to serve the public.