Myrtle dedicates new town hall


Myrtle town hall ribbon-cutting

For the ribbon-cutting, from left are UCDA Executive Director Phil Nanney, Leanne Tate George, Ruth Callicutt, Hugh Tate, Alderman Fleurette Ausburn, Alderman Carolyn McCuiston, Murrah Coffey’s son Glen, Murray Coffey cutting ribbon, Alderman Micheal Canerdy, Alderman Jeanette Thomas, Mayor Joe Rials and UCDA Assistant Joanne Lesley. Alderman David Brown was not present.

The Town of Myrtle formally opened its new $210,000 municipal building Monday, dedicating the town hall to former resident Murray Coffey, who donated the land. Officials also designated the board room in honor of long-time alderman Joe Graham.

Graham was unable to attend but Coffey was on hand along with family members for the honor.

“This was not easy and it was not fast,” Mayor Joe Rials said of the building. Five or six years ago, the town board began to come under pressure to have a designated building to hold town offices. For the past dozen years the town had rented a home just up the street that belonged to the Coffey family.

“We began looking for funding and looking for land,” the mayor said. They got support from Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the USDA and MDA, and also passed a 20-year bond issue to take up most of the cost. “Billy and Martha Kate Wiseman were the low bidders,” Rials said.

They had three possible courses of action, the mayor said. “Fix up an existing old place, find another place to fix up or get land and build new.” Nothing could be found to meet the needs of the first two options but then Murray Coffey stepped in, offering to donate the land.

This land became the site of the new municipal building, fire department and a vacant lot in between that will eventually have a building to store town equipment.

Rials said Cook-Coggin Engineers’ Roland Humphrey came up with a great plan for the town hall. “But the bids were all too high,” the mayor said, so he redrew the plans and this was about the time of Coffey’s offer to donate. Master Craft of Booneville, owned by Lanier Thompson, got the contract and the building was recently completed. “Some of the landscaping has just been done,” Rials said, and bare spots will be filled in later as part of an Eagle Scout project.

A plaque in the lobby recognizes Mr. and Mrs. Coffey’s contribution and another plaque in the boardroom honors Graham.

Although Graham could not be present, Rials talked about his contributions as alderman to Myrtle over 30 years, including work on the park, the Jackson Furniture crossing, emergency sirens and getting a backup power system for the town water supply.

Rials also thanked the local officials for their help, mentioning supervisor Dwight Pickens and the rest of the board, the Union County Development Association with Executive Director Phil Nanney, Town Clerk Marie White and city attorney Joe Marshal Davis.

The new building houses the town clerk’s office, water system office, boardroom and police department.

Monday’s ceremony was planned with the convenience of the Coffey family in mind but Rials said another open house may be held for the public on a weekend.