Rock Building debate continues

Published 10:52 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

At one time, the Pike County Commission was ready to make renovations to Troy’s historical Rock Building. Another time, they were ready to sell it.

And so, the debate continues.

In their last meeting, District 4 Commissioner Ray Goodson said commissioners should consider letting the building go.

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“At one time, I was real interested in fixing it,” Goodson said. “And I still would be, but it looks like I’m the only one.

“It’s deteriorating and getting worse and worse, and I don’t see any sense in just letting it sit there and deteriorate.”

The building, which once housed the Pike County Board of Education office, now serves as storage for the school system, the courthouse and the county extension office, said County Administrator Harry Sanders.

In the years its been vacant, Sanders said only minimal repairs have been made to the building severely damaged by fire.

Though Goodson said he feels some commissioners may not want to restore the building, he isn’t completely alone.

Chairman Robin Sullivan and District 5’s Charlie Harris are two others who would like to see the building remain an historic landmark in the city.

But, they just don’t know it can be done.

“I know it would be upward of a million dollars to fix it, and I just don’t know if it’s a good idea for us to get that deep into debt again,” Sullivan said. “Do you bite the bullet, or just get rid of it?”

Harris had a similar view.

“If we can find the money to remodel the Rock Building, that’s what we need to do,” Harris said. “But if we don’t, I would be willing to support the commission in selling the building.”

Harris said he may suggest seeking grant money to fund the project.

But District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Barron said it may just be time for the building to go.

“I think we ought to sell it,” Barron said. “The cost to restructure that building would be significant, and I just couldn’t see sinking that kind of money in the old structure.”

And, Barron said if the commission did restore the building, downtown parking would be just another issue they’d have to face aside from finding revenues.

“You’d be taking away from business parking downtown, and you can’t do that,” Barron said.

Before any decision is made, however, Barron said he’d like to hear more of what local residents have to say.

That, also, is what District 1 Homer Wright said he wants to do.

“I would like to let the public to give input,” Wright said. “The public needs to make a decision because it is a historic building.”

District 6 Commissioner Karen Berry could not be reached for comment.