What’s the use?: Group seeks to define purpose for Rock Building

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grassroots efforts to save the Rock Building are taking root and those who planted the seeds are optimistic the historic structure will play an important role in the Pike County community for generations to come.

David Helms and his wife, Sherry, are spearheading the efforts to breathe new life into the building that was constructed in 1939 with field rocks gathered from every corner of the county.

Until the Rock Building was damaged by fire more than 20 years ago, it housed the county offices on the main floor and was the site of many community events on the lower level. Left to time and the wrath of Mother Nature, the building is now boarded and tagged with a “Danger: Do not enter” sign.

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So, what’s the use?

That’s the question Helms and those who attended the Rock Building “interest” meeting on May 19 are asking. “What’s the use?”

“I realized at that meeting that people aren’t just interested in restoring the Rock Building, they are passionate about it,” Helms said. “Every day, I have people express an interest in the building. Many families were involved collecting field rocks to build the Rock Building so it does have the handprint of Pike County all over it.

“The wheels are turning but before we can really get moving, we’ve got to decide on a purposeful use for the building. We can’t restore it just to restore it. We’ve got to find a use for the Rock Building that will be as beneficial to all the people of Pike County today as it was in years past.”

Helms said a committee was formed to seek input from the community as to what the best use for the historic structure would be.

“The Rock Building has about 11,000 square feet of space, so the building could have multiple uses as it originally did,” he said. “Pike County is filled with talented, creative and visionary people and we need their input.”

Those who have ideas about the best use for the Rock Building are encouraged to put them on paper or stop by Home Gallery in Troy and share them with Helms so they may be passed along to the committee.

“It might be one idea that clicks or many several that would work together,” Helms said. “I’m confident the people of Pike County are going to find a use for the Rock Building and a way to restore it. This is our last and best chance to do it.”