Community responds to Rock Building repairs

Published 4:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen announced Tuesday his plan to restore the Pike County Activities Building in downtown Troy.

The “Rock Building,” as it is commonly known, was heavily damage by an arson’s fire in the early 1990s and has been left to time and the elements.

Allen is proposing a joint venture between the Pike County Commission and his office to fund the restoration of the building, which he said has been estimated at more than $520,000. He said his office would contribute $20,000 a year for 10 years toward the renovation.

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Allen presented his plan to the Pike County Commissioners via email and shared his plan in a meeting with David and Sherry Helms, who are spearheading the grassroots efforts to return the historic building to its prominence in the community.

“We were attending County Day at the Legislature in Montgomery on Tuesday when we received the emails from Probate Judge Allen, said Harry Sanders, Pike County administrator. “I am very pleased to see that the judge is offering his help to salvage a county landmark.”

Not desiring to throw cold water on the probate judge’s “generous offer,” Sanders said he believes it is his duty to point out some important information to the people of Pike County, as he has to the county commissioners.

Sanders said, in an estimate and scope of work statement from McKee and Associates of Montgomery dated Sept. 12, 2014, the total cost for a new pre-engineered metal building framing and roof construction for the Rock Building was $521,914, after demolition cost of $100,000.

“In other words, this is not a finished building ready for occupancy,” Sanders said. “This is just a preservation of the current structure and a roof. Again, I’m not wanting to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, but it is necessary to understand exactly what you have when you have expended these funds. It is important to know, if the things that were outlined as ‘future use’ of this building are pursued, it will most likely involve possibly substantial additional funding.”

Pike County Commissioner Joey Jackson agreed that $500,000 would not put people in the building.

“The Pike County Commission had that same estimate that Judge Allen presented back months ago. Like he said, it would good to have a place to house all the county’s offices,” Jackson said. “But, we’re not going to be able to do that with $500,000. First, we’ve got to have a purpose for the building and then find a way to pay for it. I would like to see the building restored but I also want good safe roads to ride on. Which is more important? You decide.”

Commissioner Ray Goodson said that he, too, supports the restoration of the Rock Building.

“I’m for restoring the Rock Building and I’m for providing good roads for our people,” he said. “I’ve got some things to look at and then I’ll have something more to say.”