Skip to content

Roanoke takes over museum, eyes new police HQ

The City of Roanoke is taking over a major local project and may be finding a new home for its police department.

The city has agreed to take over ownership of the Randolph County Historical Museum, assuming control of the building’s ongoing renovation project.

The former US Post Office building on Main Street has been closed for years due to a mold infestation inside and a porous roof on top that has long been in need of repair.

The organization that previously owned the museum had worked in conjunction with the local Rotary Club as well as other entities in an effort to raise the funds needed to renovate the building. But that task had become overwhelming, and the organization entered into negotiations with Roanoke officials to turn the project over to the city.

As part of the deal, the city accepted the donated deed to the museum building and will oversee and facilitate the remainder of the renovation.

Grant money in excess of $20,000 has already been secured for the removal of the building’s mold. The museum has also received a sizable anonymous donation to put toward the replacement of the building’s roof, which has an estimated price tag of between $30,000 and $40,000.

The magnolia trees that flank the building on either side will also be removed as part of the project.

According to Roanoke mayor Jill Patterson-Hicks the hope is that all of the renovations will be complete by the end of the year, putting the museum in line to reopen sometime in 2023.

That timeline would be similar if plans proceed to move the Roanoke Police Department out of its current home on West Point Street and into the former County Water Authority building on Main Street.

The Roanoke City Council listened to a proposal from council member Kesa Johnston at Monday’s council meeting, outlining the need for and feasibility of such a move.

The current Roanoke Justice Center, where the police department, courtroom and jail are housed, has a long and expensive list of needed repairs.

The structure, which was constructed in 2006, is not a traditional building, and the nature of the facility has lent itself to all types of problems. Chief among those is the fact that rain water often pools underneath the floor, and many portions of the building are not water tight. This has led to walls separating, damaged ceilings, damaged floors, mold, rust and electrical issues. Many of those troubles can only be repaired temporarily. The company that originally built the structure is no longer in business, and needed long-term repairs have been deemed too difficult and/or expensive to carry out.

The solution the city is seeking is relocation of the department. This would lead to the elimination of a city jail and would put all of the city’s inmates in the county correctional facility.

The city has targeted the building that sits between the Randolph Leader and Southern States Bank on Main Street and has been asked for a purchase price of $75,000 from the County Water Authority for the building.

If that move takes place the city would then have to decide what to do with the current facility, with demolition being the most likely outcome.

Roanoke plans to accelerate the renovation project for the museum with the hopes of having

it open by 2023.

Leave a Comment