Updated 08/14/2012 11:10 PM
Leaders Hope To Convert Brooklyn Armory Into Community Space
City leaders committed 14 million dollars to a "yet to be named" entity Tuesday, hoping to convert an unused space in Brooklyn for the public's use. In the wake of several playground and park shootings this summer, many hope children benefit the most. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
U.S. soldiers used the space at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory to drill for decades. Now, the 23rd Regiment Drill Hall sits empty.
But many hope it will soon look like the Park Slope Armory, which was once empty but is now run by the YMCA.
The city invested $16 million there. It aims to invest $14 million in the Bedford-Atlantic Armory.
"This armory will serve Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy and Prospect Heights," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Markowitz is among those hoping a group bids big for kids to use the space cheaply.
"That is very important, that it is either free or modestly priced so that all members of community can participate," he said.
Councilwoman Letitia James, who is worried about the uptick in gun violence this summer that's left several children shot, is on board.
"We recognize that when children are engaged and engaged in constructive events, this is one way to prevent violence and to keep them fit," she said.
"It can be a recreational use, an arts use," said Seth Diamond, the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services. "A range of uses are possible."
The Department of Homeless Services is the city's biggest contributor. Why? Just next door, also in the armory, DHS has an assessment center which houses as many as 350 homeless men for up to a month.
That will not change and for some, that's a concern. In fact, that's what stopped a nonprofit from developing a similar project there a decade ago.
But supporters of this plan point to the Park Slope Armory which, in addition to the YMCA, houses up to 70 homeless women.
"There'll be appropriate security to make sure that everyone has a very good time," Markowitz said.
"All kinds of community concerns and benefits will be evaluated," Diamond said. "That's part of the RFP process."