Here’s my plan to save the Rock Building

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One of the wonderful things about Pike County is the sense of community. You see it everywhere you go from the ball park to church to local restaurants. We love our community and there is no better of example of that than the Rock Building. The construction of that historic building was a true community endeavor. People traveled far and wide and collected rocks to bring back home for its construction.

It represents more than its architecture and more than its contents. The Rock Building represents the spirit of Pike County. I believe it is worth restoring.

In the very near future, at a meeting of the Pike County Commission, I will propose a joint venture between the Commission and the Office of the Probate Judge to help restore that historic landmark, a project that will cost approximately $634,095.60. After conversations with both bank presidents of the First National Bank of Brundidge and Troy Bank and Trust, I believe that both banks could service a 10 year loan at a low interest rate with an annual payment of approximately $63,000. Since the Pike County Commission owns the building, the Commission would have to secure the loan.

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Each year, the Office of the Judge of Probate dedicates funds to archive and protect vital Pike County records and for projects related to the housing of those historical documents.  I will pledge $20,000 per year from those funds toward that debt repayment for the next ten years. At the conclusion of the renovation, a portion of the Rock Building should be used to store and protect historical documents that are currently housed in the Probate Office.

Furthermore, I recommend a utilization plan be developed for the Rock Building and all other property owned by the County Commission. This could result in the unification and consolidation of various county departments and offices under one roof including the EMA, County Extension Office, Juvenile Probation and E-911. Such a streamlining move could result in the savings of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

The Spirit of Pike County is alive and well and, by working together, we can restore an example of that spirit that is so deeply woven into the fabric of our County.

I hope that we can preserve a piece of our history while leading our county to a more effective and efficient delivery of government services.

Wes Allen is probate judge for Pike County.