HAYC3 Gets The Armory For A Buck
by Bea Peterson
It’s official. On Wednesday, June 20, the NYS Assembly approved a bill put forth by NYS Assemblyman Tony Jordan for the State to authorize the transfer of the Hoosick Falls Armory to the Hoosick Area Youth Center and Community Coalition (HAYC3) for the sum of $1. On Thursday, June 21, the NYS Senate approved a similar bill submitted by Senator Roy McDonald.
[private]The process will take a few months to complete, and HAYC3 will have a year to decide if the conditions set by the State regarding the building are acceptable to the organization.
The Armory’s future has been an overwhelming issue in the community since May 2011 when the National Guard vacated the building. From the start Hoosick Town Supervisor Keith Cipperly voiced his opinion that the Armory was too costly for the Town to keep and maintain. Engineer Bill Cottrell was hired by the Town Board to help them make a decision. Cottrell looked at the Armory, the Patire building and the Weeb’s Fish Fry building and considered building new. Cottrell’s opinion was that the Armory was the best building over the long haul. In the months that followed special meetings were held and a Save the Armory Committee was formed. In February, while the Committee was still at work on proposed solutions, Councilman Bruce Patire suggested that HAYC3 take over the building as a community center. In March, 80 people attended the Board meeting, the majority wanting the Town to own the building. In April HAYC3 Board members told the Town Board they were willing to step in to see that the Armory remained open.
The decision was made and all members of the Town Board voted to request Assemblyman Jordan and Senator McDonald petition HAYC3 receive the building for $1.
The contention of the Supervisor and some Board members all along was that the Town, as a municipality, would have to make extreme improvements to the building, including an elevator. A not-for-profit organization would not have to make these improvements, they said.
Supervisor Cipperly has stated that the Town will continue to maintain its offices in the Armory for at least six months after HAYC3 takes it over.
HAYC3 Director Aelish Nealon said the organization takes its direction from the community. “From our brainstorming event a huge community outpouring of ideas and possibilities were gathered,” she said. “These ideas will navigate the future goals for the Armory. The ad hoc committee has compiled the ideas, and the complete list is available on the HAYC3 website, www.hayc3.org.” She added, “The feedback from the community is excitement, and daily people are stopping by to continue to give their suggestions.” Nealon previously said that the present Youth Center is bursting at the seams and that they definitely need more space.
The brainstorming event included many ideas suggested by the Save the Armory Committee. Some of those ideas include job fairs, musical programs and farmers markets, especially in winter. A dozen or more classes and support programs for young people were mentioned. Classes of all types were mentioned as well, from art to dance, including Zumba. The list is endless and includes renting the hall for private events. If only half of these events and projects come to fruition, the Armory should be humming with vitality for years to come. The question on many minds is the financial feasibility of a not-for-profit maintaining the huge building. They will obviously need community support. As Councilman Patire stated at one of the Board meetings, “Let those that are interested in seeing the Armory remain open pay for it.[/private]