Consultant: Dalton project ‘visionary’


Melinda Williams/SWT


A consultant says refurbishing the Dalton building is a “visionary and attainable” project, but the town of Pulaski will have to find about $400,000 in funding to make it a reality.

We’re about $400,000 short to submit a grant to the governor” for funds to “repurpose” the Washington Avenue building, Pulaski Economic Development Director John White told town council.

Therefore, he said, it is “critical” for the town to have conversations with the town and county Industrial Development Authorities and elected county officials to emphasize the importance of the project.

White says reviving the building should be important to the county as a whole because it could be a “game-changer” for the health of the county seat (Pulaski), by providing lodging and a restaurant for visitors coming off the New River Trail.

According to White and Vice Mayor David Clark, many trail users are inquiring about a place to eat and lodge when they come off the trail, which runs between Pulaski and Galax.

White said the fact the trail is bringing people into town “only underscores” the benefit of repurposing the building.

The town and county recently hired David Gall, owner of the architectural firm that developed plans for restoring the train station, to evaluate the Dalton building.

Gall presented the plan to council members Tuesday evening.

The building, across from Pulaski Post Office, has a tax value of $143,000, according to White. He said the owner is interested in conveying the building “to an appropriate entity.”

White said he found nothing surprising to him in Gall’s report, which indicated there is a “wealth” of retainable historic architecture in the building, a frame that is “largely in condition” and a floor plan that is “suitable for reuse.”

Mayor Jeff Worrell asked whether town council needs to take some action soon if the project is to be pursued.

White said it is time to use “the art of negotiation” to convince all parties of the importance of investing in the project, adding, “sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

According to White, there is a good chance some money, an estimated $200,000, for assessment of the building can be obtained through the Brownfield Assessment and Industrial Revitalization Funds.

However, that would still leave the project about $400,000 short.

The 1921 building is on the National Historic Register.

White told council earlier this month that the building is reaching the point where it is going to be a liability to the town if it doesn’t have a new roof and stabilization soon, especially since it borders Peak Creek.

“The cost to demolish it would be much, much greater,” he added.

Mayor Jeff Worrell said this may be the last chance to save the building.

The former theatre area of the building collapsed in 1982 due to falling into disrepair.



13 Responses to Consultant: Dalton project ‘visionary’

  1. recardo massie sr

    October 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

    i think pulaski needs a theatre people still like to go to the movies

    • Robert McKinney, Friends of the Pulaski Theatre

      October 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Pulaski Has a Theatre! If you watch the marquee you will see that movies are coming soon. state of the art cinema, screen and sound system are being installed as this comment is being read..The Theatre is using live shows to help raise funds to fund the installation.
      the next show is November 19 with the “Wright Kids”. fill a seat enjoy the show and help with our fundraising by frequenting the shows.

      • Va Girl

        October 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

        Thanks for posting that information. I didn’t know about movies coming to the theater. Don’t go to town really often other than the post office, but would definately go to see a movie in the evenings.

      • BW

        February 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        So when are the movies going to be showing at the theatre? Per Robert McKinney post it was in the works back in October yet I haven’t seen the first current movie advertised. If there was something to do in this town, I would spend my money there, but there is none so I will continue to take my cash to Wythe and Montgomery counties.

  2. Robert Goad

    October 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Is there any ITEMS left from the Dalton Theatre.
    May for sale.
    I all ways like the Dalton Theatre, I went there
    every Saturday. I would like to have a item from
    the theatre.

  3. Concerned

    October 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I have a question. Does anyone share the same concern regarding the Town Fire Department? I mean really, if we are going to play the worry card about the soundness of this structure “sitting on the edge of Peak Creek”. I feel like the citizens of this town, and parts of the County alike would benefit much more from a revitalization or relocation of an important public safety building. Seems like $400,000 could go a long way. Now, I understand that by providing lodging we may have a chance to recoup a small portion of the money but honestly, how many cyclists are we talking about here? Why would they be so eager to seek lodging in town where there is litle to nothing else to do? I also disagree that the cost of demolition would exceed the cost of revitalizing the Dalton Building.
    I think we really need to think about our emergency responders although, no one ever does until they need them.

  4. Karen Graham

    October 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I am in agreement with ‘concerned’ about the number of trail riders coming into Pulaski and wanting lodging. I would think the first thing council should do is actually find out by written response just how many people are asking about lodging.

    I don’t think it is a good idea to assume the lodgers are out there based on someone just saying so. Also, I do understand that it takes money to make money. The thing is, the town dosen’t have that much money to be throwing around.

    One other thing I agree with ‘concerned’ about, is the emergency responders. Yes, how about thinking about them first, you know, there is another old saying that goes something like this, “Don’t wait to close the barn door until after the horses have all gotten out.”

  5. Curtis Farmer

    October 28, 2011 at 8:33 am

    My grandmother use to sell the tickets and sometime concessions in the old Dalton Theater back in the 1940’s. It cost .10 cents to get in. Got to see two westerns, cartoons.

  6. VAMtns

    October 29, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Pulaski needs a lot more than another theater to help improve it’s terrible economic conditions! The Dalton theater should not be on the top of this Needs list, but much further down this list!

  7. Morgan Welker

    October 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    VAMnts, We are not looking at restoring another theater, that portion of the Dalton Building is long gone. What we are considering is trying to develop some nice lodging and renovated storefront locations in the existing building. The New River Trail State Park has nearly 1 million users each year and Pulaski is the county seat, yet we have very limited lodging opportunities for visitors. Trail users are having to stay in Dublin or overnight in Galax rather than here. The parents of the Pulaski Mariners’ players can’t even stay in town when they come to watch their sons play. People in town for County or Town business can’t stay in town. We can use all the visitors we can get, and with more visitors comes other business opportunities (like restaurants and things to do) and hopefully some jobs and revival of our downtown. Look at how much business the bike shop is getting. Who would have guessed a couple years ago that a bicycle shop could thrive in Pulaski? The idea here is to do some kind of public-private partnership, fix up an important historical building that is becoming increasingly blighted and is in a prominent location, and fill a need in the community. We can work with what we have, try to fill a need, and try to make things better or we can just give up and say nothing will ever change. If we can’t get the funding to do it, at least we will have enough information compiled to assist a private developer, if one were to come along. As the saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

  8. Concerned

    November 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    @ Morgan Welker, I think that we all share a common goal in hoping for revitalization for the Town. I think we would all agree that tourism could play an important role. However, I think that our opinions differ on MORE IMPORTANT issues. We need to be more concerned with maintaining and revialtizing what we already have, before it’s lost. Lets take baby steps forward instead of stepping backward. Our Town Fire Department is in need of so much. It is my understanding that because the building size wouldn’t hold a new aerial truck, the Town’s multi-story buildings will now have to wait on a response from Dublin’s truck. I give kudos to our fire personnel for their great effort in maintaining what they have the best they can, but when will they get the attention they deserve? Will it take the building crumbling into the creek or being destroyed and damaged by flood waters?

  9. Morgan Welker

    November 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Concerned, I appreciate your thoughts on the Fire Department building. I think we can all agree that the building we have is becoming obsolete. That said, my understanding is that there are no structural issues with the building, and it is in good maintenance, with a fairly new roof. The real issue is that it is just too small, and in the flood plain, but so is the rest of downtown. When the aerial truck came out of service, there was some discussion about this, but it was used so infrequently, that I didn’t think we could justify the cost to re-build the truck when Dublin has one. Council had reserved some funds to use as a grant match for a new fire station as part of the stimulus bill of 2009. Unfortunately, the Town did not win this grant. I would think Council would certainly be willing to do the same if another such opportunity came up. I know I would support it. But, we do have a fire station, it is not in any danger of structural problems, it does function, and our guys do a very good job with what we have. Will we need to replace it in the future to accommodate more newer equipment? At some point we will. Do we have to do it now? Honestly, I do not believe we need to do it right now. I think our focus right now is better spent on things that will bring people and businesses into town, and continuing to reverse the decades of decline. With growth and prosperity, we will be able to afford some of these other needs.

  10. Eric Miller

    November 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I liked what Councilman Welker had to say in his responses. With more people thinking like he does, a turnaround in the longtime Pulaski decline definitely has a chance.

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