City takes ownership of old post office

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2000

Staff Writer

The old post office building downtown now belongs to the City of Troy.

Thursday morning, John Schmidt, chairman of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce board, handed over a $90,000 check to John Key, superintendent of the Pike County Board of Education in exchange for the deed.

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Plans are to restore the historic building for use as a center for the fine arts and office space for the Chamber.

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 off the loan to the city, the Chamber has embarked 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.

Schmidt is excited about getting to work on the building, which features beautiful wood molding and a marble floor in the lobby area, where signs indicating the postmaster’s office and mail windows are still very visible.

"This project is the epitome of a community working together," Schmidt said. "This is for the betterment of the entire county."

Marsha Gaylard, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said she thinks Pike County citizens have wanted to do something with the old structure for some time.

"This has been a long process," Gaylard said, adding it isn’t over, yet, since fundraising has just begun.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford commended the Chamber for "taking a bold step" and added his support of the project.

"We made a committment to do our part…to make this a reality for Pike County, not just the City of Troy," Lunsford said.

The Chamber had originally offered $50,000 for the building, but that was rejected by the board of education because of the costs involved in the upkeep of the building.