Old post office will house Chamber, Arts Council

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2002

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The old post office located downtown Troy will get a facelift and new residents.

After an estiamted $500,000 worth of nips and tucks, it will become the new home for the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Troy Arts Council.

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Plans to begin renovations on the building, which was built in 1911, are hoped to begin in the early part of 2002, said Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

"We got the idea it would be a great home for the chamber and also a great public use building, as well," Chamber President Marsha Gaylard said. "We thought it would be a great cultural arts center."

"A lot of people have been talking about doing this for years," Lunsford said. "This is a dynamic project to save the building and change the use for it …We want to have the chamber there so the building will have manpower there all the time."

Some of those people who have been talking about the old post office’s function are members of the Troy Arts Council, which runs out of the home of council President Donald Crapps.

"A community of this size ought to have a place to house an art gallery and to perform shows," Crapps said.

Since the council is run from Crapps’ home, the potential for the organization are restricted.

"We don’t have an office and that limits us. It’s really too much to be operating out of someone’s home, because of the amount of files for one thing," Crapps said.

Crapps gives out his home phone number as the Council’s office number.

The Council owns almost 60 paintings, which were done by many local artists, and council members are looking forward to having a central office to house them all.

Crapps said now the Council can bring in traveling exhibits, since the building will be a secure facility.

The new office will help the Council better serve the community through extra hired-help and more information made readily available through the Council’s new phone line.

According to Gaylard, the chamber, which is partially funded by the City of Troy, borrowed about $90,000 to purchase the building. The chamber then donated the building to the City of Troy, which "agreed it’s going to be a Pike County facility."

"We have lost so many historic buildings," she said. "This was owned by the Pike County Board of Education and unused, except for a print shop in the back."

The plan for the building was a not a natural decision and the fate of the archaic facility was indefinite until a recent meeting in December.

Representatives of the Chamber, the Council and the city reached the compromise just recently on the use of the building, which resolved that it would house the chamber office, the arts council office and a multi-purpose room, which was once a mail-sorting room.

The basement will also be "environmentally improved," so local artists and art teachers can use it, said Lunsford.

"I’m just tickled to death" about the compromise, Gaylard said. "It’s our original idea."

The renovation will be funded through a private foundation, which will oversee the repairs, Gaylard said. Fundraising for the renovations will touch all parts of the community.

"We want everybody to feel ownership of the building," Gaylard said.

Stacy Graning contributed to this report.