State lawmakers make moves to secure armory for Riverhead Town

Two bills were filed in Albany this week aimed at turning the old Riverhead Armory on Route 58 over to Riverhead Town.

If the town does acquire the brick armory, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said he wants to convert the building into a headquarters for the Riverhead Police Department and Justice Court, which would free up the current police and court building on Howell Avenue for other town offices.

The bills, one filed in the Senate and the other in the Assembly, propose to turn the armory and the 5.9 acres on which it sits over to the town at no cost.

The building had lead contamination in the basement, where it was used as a shooting range.

But during a discussion about the armory at a public Town Board work session Thursday, Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy said he was recently told the basement was cleaned and now free of contamination.

The town would have to remove some asbestos in the floor tiles, Mr. Dunleavy said, but that would be about it as far as remediation jobs.

Riverhead Town originally owned the armory and property  but sold it to the state in 1953 for $500. That agreement included what’s called a reverter clause that stated that the land could go back to the town if it ever ceased being used as an armory and the town wanted it.

For many years, the armory was used by the 133rd Quartermaster Company of the New York Army National Guard, but the state has now consolidated its Army National Guard units in a new facility in Farmingdale.

Mr. Walter said he has no estimate for how much it will cost to renovate the armory for town use.

The bills are sponsored by Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) in the Senate and Assemblyman Dan LoSquadro (R-Shoreham) in the Assembly.

The supervisor said he expects the bills to be approved within the next two months.

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