Helms: Efforts ‘rock’ on

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014

David Helms just might have said it best.
“This could be our best and last chance to save the Rock Building.”
Helms is among those who are spearheading the efforts to amass a grassroots effort to save the Pike Activities Building, commonly called, the Rock Building. The historic structure continues to “crumble” since left to time and the elements after being damaged by fire nearly 20 years ago.
The last, best effort to save the Rock Building is now in the hands of the people of Pike County, Helms said.
“It is time for us to step up and step out and let the Pike County Commissioners know that it’s time to do something,” Helms said. “The building belongs to the county, and we’re all part of the county. It’s time for us to do something.”
For starters, that “something” will be a meeting of like minds at 6 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Troy Recreation Center.
“What we want to do right now is bring together people who are concerned about the future of the Rock Building and want to see in preserved for now and for future generations,” Helms said.
“I don’t know how many thousands for rocks are in that building. There’s probably no way to know but what we do know is the people of Pike County gathered those rocks – every one of them – and either hauled them to the site in wagons or pickup trucks or left them on the roadside for the county to pick up. There’s no telling how many people had a hand in the building of the Pike Activities Building – our Rock Building.”
Helms said the purpose of the meeting on May 19 will be to present ideas and gather information.
“The first thing we have to do is determine a purpose for the Rock Building,” Helms said. “We need ideas on how the building could be used. And, there are people around who remember the building being built or who have heard stories from their parents or grandparents about the building. We want to hear stories about activities and events held in the building – about its purposes and how it was a center for county activities.”
Helms said the Rock Building has a proud place in the history of Pike County and it is worth preserving  “whatever the cost.”
“We encourage everyone with an interest in the preservation of the Rock Building to attend this grassroots meeting at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Troy Recreation Center,” he said.
In mid-April Helms toured the Rock Building with Pike County Commission Chairman Homer Wright and Commissioner Charlie Harris, Alex Whaley of Whaley Construction Company and Chuck Ingram with McKee & Associates Architects to determine the feasibility of preserving the Rock Building.
Whaley said a lot of creative things could be done with the building – with enough money.
“What is most valuable about this building is the nostalgia,” Whaley said. “The exterior walls are intact and that’s good. We know that it’s got to have a roof but, before we move ahead, we’ve got to know the intended use of the building.”
Wright said the building has been an issue before the Commission for a long time.
“And, it’s time to do something, if there is still time,” he said.
Harris said he is in favor of a public meeting to discuss the future of the Rock Building.
“The people should have a say in what this building becomes,” he said.

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