PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION

Vol. 17, No. 16 July 29 - Aug 25, 2004



     
 

Guard Still Needs New Home
BCC Facility Off the Table

By HEATHER HADDON

It's back to the drawing board for those looking to relocate the Kingsbridge Armory's remaining National Guard units, a final stumbling block for moving the long-delayed redevelopment project forward. 

Bronx Community College (BCC) is nearing the end of negotiations to reclaim a facility that some officials and activists thought would be an ideal site to relocate the Guard Units to. 

Finding the Guard a home is critical as there is finally broad-based support for putting schools on land occupied by the armory's annex on West 195th Street between Jerome and Reservoir avenues. But before schools can be built there, the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs must find a home for the Guard units. Some Bronx officials and members of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition hoped to move the two companies to a facility just north of BCC that once housed the 77th Patterson Army ReserveCenter. 

But Bronx officials were unaware that BCC had its own plans for the abandoned facility. "The process is well along," said Mike Seliger, a BCC assistant dean. 

New York University, the original occupant of BCC's campus, leased the building to the military for 50 years, according to Seliger. BCC started speaking with the military four years ago to regain the space for their new Center for Sustainable Energy. "This is not new news," Seliger said. 

But it apparently was news to Bronx officials. "Since they [the military] already own it, we wouldn't have to go through anything to move the entire unit there," said Council Member Joel Rivera earlier this month. 

The army vacated the building several years ago. Obviously abandoned, the Coalition, which has its own proposal to redevelop the armory, identified the site as an ideal location for the Guard. It has almost 120,000 square feet between the building and its lot, several wings, and a four-vehicle garage. 

For the past three years, the Guard has considered relocating the companies from the Armory annex for their own reasons, according to Staff Sergeant Dennis Flynn of the 145th Maintenance Company. 

"[The annex] is pretty small for two units," said Flynn, 39, whose company shares the space with the 258th Field Artillery. 

The units have about 300 soldiers, though the 258th is now at Fort Dix preparing for deployment to Iraq. Even without them, the annex is not roomy enough for the 145th to store the large equipment they repair. Instead, the 200 members commute upstate to do their work, according to Flynn. "It's frustrating," he said.

Flynn thought the state had considered moving the companies to a space in Throgs Neck, near SUNY Maritime College, where a single Marine battalion operates. He's also heard discussion of upstate locations. 

Since the state started closing Guard facilities in the 1990s, including the Kingsbridge Armory in 1994, finding appropriate new quarters has been a perennial problem, according to Flynn. In his 22 years with the Guard, the Soundview resident has moved to at least five different facilities. The city said earlier this month that it was in negotiations with the state regarding finding a new home for the Guard. At press time, Coalition members planned to meet with Assemblyman Jose Rivera to discuss the matter further. 

Ed. note: For more information on the Center for Sustainable Energy, go to 
www.bcc.cuny.edu    


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