Brewer News

Brewer council commends late mayor, celebrates auditorium’s 75th year

BREWER, Maine — The city recognized its former mayor and representative in the Maine Legislature on Monday night for his years of service.

Monday’s council session was the first since Michael Celli died last month, surrounded by family and friends. Celli, a proud Texas native, served seven years on Brewer City Council, including four as mayor, as well as two terms in the Maine House. He was named Brewer Citizen of the Year in 2012.

In his last meeting as mayor, Jerry Goss presented a plaque to members of the Celli family.

“Mike and I didn’t always agree,” Goss said. “But I knew one thing for sure, that his heart was always with the citizens of Brewer, and for that he will always be remembered.”

The council also read a resolve recognizing the 75th anniversary of the construction of the Brewer Auditorium. The building was completed on Nov. 8, 1939, with half the funding provided by the Federal Works Agency of the Public Works Administration, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal.

The total project cost was just under $65,000 — or about $1.1 million, adjusted for inflation — $36,826 of which was paid by the city.

“That was the best $65,000 the city of Brewer has ever spent,” Councilor Bev Uhlenhake said.

The facility since has been upgraded numerous times to provide accessibility for handicapped residents, keep up with fire and code requirements, and improve the kitchen and offices. The building has housed the city’s Parks and Recreation Department since 1969.

Councilor Matt Vachon, who is expected to take over as mayor this week, said that the Brewer Historic Resources Advisory Board has added the auditorium to the city’s registry of historic places, and presented Parks and Recreation Director Ken Hanscom with a sign to display on the building.

Both the council and school committee are scheduled to meet on Tuesday night, when newly elected members will be sworn in during the annual meeting at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. The event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Councilor and former Mayor Joe Ferris will rejoin the five-member council for another three years after his unopposed re-election bid. Councilors then will elect the city’s next mayor.

Two winners of seats on the Brewer school committee will take their oaths as well. Holly Lundquist, who led the field in the Nov. 4 election with 2,049 votes, and Mark Farley, who closely followed with 2,016, will take their places on the five-member board.

Albert A. Gibson also will be sworn in after his unopposed selection for a seat on the high school district board of trustees.

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff