Town may soon take ownership of armory

The New York State National Guard Armory on Route 58 could become the next Riverhead Police headquarters.

Riverhead Town appears to be on the verge of acquiring the Riverhead Armory building, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

The Army National Guard is scheduled to vacate the armory later this year, and Riverhead officials are interested in using the building as a town police headquarters.

“I think we’re going to get it,” Mr. Walter told Town Board members at a public work session last Thursday.

He said research by deputy town attorney Ann Marie Prudenti revealed that the town owned the armory property at one time and sold it to the state for $500.

He said he provided this information to state officials, who will determine what to do with the property. He said that after speaking to state Assemblyman Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) and state Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) “it looks like we’ll probably get it back for the same $500 nominal fee.”

Mr. LaValle confirmed that the town is on track to land the armory, based on his conversations with John Egan, the state Commissioner of General Services.

The state must first declare the property to be surplus and then the state Commissioner of General Services will rule on what to do with the land, officials said.

But there are some problems with the property, Mr. LaValle said. For example, there was once a shooting range in the building’s basement and as a result, he said, “there is a lot of lead there.” He said the town, not the state, would have to clean that up if it took possession of the building.

The Riverhead Armory was built in 1957 and is home to the 133rd Quartermaster Company of the New York Army National Guard, which has about 30 members, state officials said.

The state Division of Military and Naval Affairs is planning to close all the armories on Long Island later this year in favor of a centralized Armed Forces Reserve Center at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

The Army National Guard’s new Farmingdale facility is expected to be ready by January 2011, officials said.

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