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Downtown takes lead

to repay post office loan

By BETH LAKEY

Staff Writer

Flow of money to renovate the old post office in downtown Troy has begun.

Wednesday morning, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Revitalization Committee presented $1,000 and downtown merchants gave a total of $5,000 to help finance the renovation of the old post office. Those downtown businesses which contributed are: Douglas Brothers, Home Gallery, Byrd Drugs, Landmark Realty and WTBF radio.

The Chamber decided to borrow $90,000 to purchase the historic buildign from the Pike County Board of Education and is raising money to pay off the loan and do the renovations necessary to turn the old post office building into an art and cultural center.

"I’m thrilled our downtown merchants have taken the lead," said Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. "They have a very vested interest."

Gaylard said she thinks Pike County citizens have wanted to do something with the old structure for some time and hopes this announcement will encourage others to follow the merchants’ lead.

"We really want this faciltiy to be one used by everyone in Pike County," Gaylard said. "When you buy into something you do feel an ownership."

After being discussed for almost two years by different organizations and individuals, the Chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee voted in January to do what it could to save the old post office building on Walnut Street.

In order to pay the loan off, the Chamber will embark upon a major fund-raising effort. Money raised will also be used to fund renovations that need to be made in order to create an art and cultural center.

The Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities plans to create an art gallery to house the Council’s permanent art collection, display work of local artists and as a setting for traveling exhibits, as well as performances in music, dance and drama for small audiences. Plans also include using the basement as a studio for Pike County artists, which will allow workshops to be conducted.

But, the long process isn’t over, yet.

The fund raising has just begun as has the applicaiton process for grant money needed to do the renovations.