City leaders seek community input for Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx
NEW YORK - One of the world's largest armories is right here in the northwest Bronx, but for years it's been sitting vacant with no permanent use. It's also costing the city thousands of dollars each year to maintain.
City leaders and residents say investing in the Kingsbridge Armory will be transformative for the community.
"These two towers, which were watch towers, are these beautiful gigantic structures. You can see them anywhere in the neighborhood, actually," explains Council Member Pierina Sanchez.
You can likely spot the massive, castle-like building, rich with history, that's over 100 years old. But for nearly 30 years, it's been sitting empty, locked away behind a fence, where local vendors spend their days.
"We are owed something here in The Bronx and that is investment into our people," said Sanchez.
With the Kingsbridge Armory sitting in the dust for so long, Sanchez says renovating the space could revitalize the community with endless opportunities.
"We're talking about even up to 860,000 square feet of available space in here," said Sanchez.
For years, city plans have fallen through to make permanent use of it because of funding and community opposition. But city leaders like Sanchez and community-based groups are holding workshops to see what the community wants in this space.
"An art rec, something for kids," said Anastasia, a life-long resident of the neighborhood.
Fernando Ortiz, with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, says their proposal will reflect community needs and they're hoping to submit them by the end of this year to development teams.
"We're just very excited to actually see a community vision plan for this armory and to get something done this time," said Ortiz.
Sanchez believes it could cost over $1 billion to renovate the armory but says the investment is long overdue and worth it for the city.
"This is a place of great hope for our young people who walk by it every day and deserve the best," she said.
You can email Shosh with story ideas in the Bronx by Shosh.Bedrosian@paramount.com.
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