By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
Longtime Killeen resident Kakie Shea said she's willing to buy the old First Baptist Church building the moment it goes on the market.
Shea said so during a makeshift press conference in front of the downtown church building at noon Monday. The press conference was attended by City Manager Connie Green, who was there more as a curious observer than as a representative of the city.
"I'm just volunteering my goods and services," Shea said Monday. "I'm sure our city manager and our mayor have it completely under control. And I'm going to work next to them to move Killeen forward. ... When I realized that Killeen could use my help, even though I kind of keep to myself, I've decided to become the spokesperson by dedicating myself to God for the next two years. And God asked me to come here."
Shea said the building has enormous sentimental value to her.
"I received my salvation here, I was married here, and ... whatever the city would like us to do, we'd like to do that. At any time the city is able to come to a conclusion about the price they want for this property, I'll be the first one in line and have the certified funds needed to purchase it," Shea said.
"It has to have a price on it ... I'm going to do my part, I'm going to encourage my friends to do their part. I love Killeen, and I will do anything to help get it through this tough time."
Green said he has not had any dealings with Shea and was unaware of the press conference until Monday morning. Green noted that he has not received any official offer on the project.
Shea said that she can read between the lines.
"I just assumed that when the renovation package was voted down that the city might still be open to it," she said.
To add to the somewhat quirky turn the church project has taken, Shea was seen by numerous Killeen residents and city staff members throwing large numbers of $1 bills out of her car in the City Hall parking lot not long after her press conference.
The act supports her statement made Monday: "I think bequeathing gifts to the city would be a great idea."
One city staff member said "she was just throwing it out of her car telling people how much she loves the city. It's just $1 bills, but money's money."
The public development of the possible sale of the church to a woman who has clearly stated that she would be willing to overpay for the property can only deepen the swelling controversy of the First Baptist Church in the eyes of the Killeen City Council, which is already scheduled to discuss the future of the building at its workshop at 5 p.m. today in the large conference room of the Utility Collections building.
Typically, any discussion of a sale of city-owned property takes place in a closed session of the City Council, and there is no closed session scheduled at this time for today.
However, the topic listed is open and vague, and city attorneys may allow some level of discussion on a sale of the property to occur in open session.
Shea said that if she purchased the church, she would be willing to honor the city's commitments to both Head Start and the Milburn Academy, which had planned to make use of the facility and allow them to grow in Killeen.
If those possibilities were to come to fruition, it could alleviate some of the concerns several council members expressed when they discussed the potential of not going through with the project.
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper, along with Councilmen Juan Rivera and Ernest Wilkerson, voted in favor of the project, while Council Members Larry Cole, Billy Workman, Kenny Wells and JoAnn Purser voted against going forward with the project Tuesday.
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568.