Rogersville city leaders have a New Year’s resolution that will likely extend past 2021. It’s impressive. It’s ambitious. And it will cost a lot of money. But if successful, it will transform the community of 4,300.
In March 2020, the city purchased the 3-acre shopping complex adjacent to the city park and Highland Cemetery for $625,000. The site is adjacent to the old Blue Spring House property and a 1.5-acre lot that the city bought for $75,000 in 2016.
What to do with all of that space? How about a new city hall? A community gym with enough space for two basketball courts? An indoor pool of a size for regulation high school swimming competitions? A new concession stand facility with restrooms? And a community lawn for all sorts of activities?
Jamie Pfeffer from Nashville-based Pfeffer-Torode Architecture recently presented the Board of Mayor and Aldermen with a proposed campus layout that would be located on Main Street adjacent to the Rogersville City Park where the former United Grocery was located. After reviewing the proposed building exteriors, the BMA agreed to begin working with Pfeffer on interior designs for each building.
Pfeffer said after the construction designs are complete he’ll be able to offer a cost estimate and timeline for completion. He proposes to locate a new city hall on Main Street at the southwest corner of the complex and place the complex entrance across from the intersection of Warrior Street and Main Street. Another access road would be placed along the western boundary of the property adjacent to the cemetery and connect with the Park Boulevard access road into the city park. The new gymnasium would be located approximately where the rear of the grocery store and the existing park maintenance shop are located.
The swimming pool would be constructed at the rear of the old Blue Spring House property. Directly east of the city hall along Main Street would be two parking lots, and another parking lot would be located between the gym and the pool. The new concession stand and restrooms would be located behind the pool building.
“This is a great opportunity to take the street and really change it from a large box store site, and really pull the community through the site and further enhance the park and use these great civic buildings as an opportunity to enhance the park,” Pfeffer told the BMA.
He said the exterior designs were inspired by existing buildings in Rogersville’s historic district with an approach to build structures with modern amenities and technology, but borrowing from existing historic beauty. Putting city hall on Main Street helps build civic identity, Pfeffer said.
The BMA will meet again with Pfeffer to begin working on details for the interiors. Alderman Brian Hartness, who sits on the project committee said, “Growing up around here all these years it’s been hard to imagine. We knew we wanted something but to see something on paper is just a starting point.”
But that’s the necessary first step. There will be many more to follow, but with a strong can-do attitude on the BMA, we are confident that Rogersville will see it done. And what a difference it will make.