Chamber of Commerce
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005
to purchase old post office
By BETH LAKEY
The future of the old post office in downtown Troy has been decided.
It will become a center for the fine arts when the Pike County Chamber of Commerce purchases it for $90,000 from the Pike County Board of Education.
Thursday afternoon, officials announced the Chamber’s decision to borrow the money to purchase the building.
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.
"We do have a great need in Pike County for a facility like this," said Don Crapps of the Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities. "I had hoped something like this would happen. I never dreamed of this."
"We are really handicapped by not having an office," he said of the council.
Col. John Schmidt, chairman of the Chamber’s board, said the announcement shows cooperation between the Chamber, county officials, the mayor and council members from Troy and Brundidge, the board of education and the arts council.
"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, because grant applications are being made to help finance the renovations.
Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford commended the Chamber for "taking a bold step" and added his support of the project.
"We have made a committment to do our part…to make this a reality for Pike County, not just the City of Troy," Lunsford said.
"It’s a great day," he said of the announcement.
According to Lunsford the building is not in "a bad state of repair at all," and expressed his appreciation to the board of education for keeping up the building although it wasn’t in use the entire time the board owned it.
Pike County Superintendent John Key said he is pleased a decision regarding the building has been made.
The Chamber had offered the board of education $50,000 for the building, which was appraised at $90,000, but that offer was rejected.
"We couldn’t keep this building up with all the needs we had in the schools," Key said.
He said he feels better knowing the building will be in good hands.