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Mayfield community meets for next steps in rebuilding process

Mayfield_Community_Meeting_Tornado_Recovery_4_12
Lily Burris
/
WKMS
Jill Celeya speaks at the Mayfield Rebuild Committee meeting at Mayfield High School. Celeya is the committee chair.

The Graves County community met Tuesday night in the Mayfield High School gymnasium to form committees to help the city’s efforts to rebuild after the December tornado outbreak.

This was the second meeting in a process the city is using recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At the first meeting, community members shared their ideas on post-it notes to be categorized into lists and committees. At this meeting, committees and their chairs were announced. A list of how ideas were categorized was also handed out.

Jill Celeya is the committee chair of the Mayfield Rebuild Committee. She’s lived in Mayfield her entire life. Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan described her as “Mayfield’s favorite daughter” before announcing her as chairperson to those in attendance.

“None of us have rebuilt a town before. We don't really know the process,’ Celeya said. “I think if we had chosen if this is what we'd want to do, we'd say, ‘No, we'd rather not have to do this.’ But I am so delighted that we've had such a great turnout from our community, people who love Mayfield like I do.”

The Mayfield Rebuild Committee will have seven subcommittees - business, utilities/transportations, quality of life/arts/recreation, rebuild/design, education, housing and health/welfare. The committee leaders were announced by Celeya and attendees were encouraged to go with those leaders to learn a little more about what each committee had on its radar.

“We tried to put people into positions that we felt like they had some knowledge, some background in and so that they could lead that particular area,” Celeya said. “And I think we've got just some of the perfect people involved. I don't think anyone has turned us down when we've asked them to help and I bet there's that many times 10 willing to help even more.”

The business committee is chaired by Jason Lemle. Some ideas listed for the business committee on the handout at the event included a coffee shop, music store and microbrewery.

“Several of these ideas are obviously achievable right now; they just take certain city council movement,” Lemle said. “A lot of the other ideas will take project funding and/or a grant to help accelerate and complement some of the other functions. Then there's public and private operations on here, which will both be taken care of in multiple ways.”

Lemle said the biggest question facing the business committee is what downtown Mayfield will be like going forward.

The quality of life/arts/recreation committee is co-chaired by Nate Cox and Tara Straub. Straub said they volunteered to chair the committee.

“For years, all we've ever heard is there's nothing to do in Mayfield, there's nothing to do in Mayfield, there's nothing to do in Mayfield,” Cox said. “That's shown by the top five, five of the top 10 items on the list are things to do specifically for teenagers. I would like to come out of this with something for teenagers to do in Mayfield.”

Some items on the list include a public pool, an arcade, a community garden and a Bitcoin farm.

“The only obstacle I see is that we have so many requests, and we're not going to be able to fill them all,'' Straub said. “My main concern is picking out the ones that the community will rally behind and feel like they've been heard and that we're not overlooking anything that they've suggested.”

The committee is working with FEMA and a consulting group as they move forward. Eventually, the committee plans to have a website where information and upcoming meetings will be announced.

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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