City Councilman Wants To Turn Kingsbridge Armory Into Athletic Facility
By: NY1 News
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It's so big you could fit Yankee Stadium inside and still have room for Madison Square Garden. Now, some officials are dreaming of turning the dilapidated Kingsbridge Armory into a sports Mecca of Olympic proportions.
NY1 Bronx Reporter Dean Meminger has the story.
Construction crews are tackling a huge task at the Kingsbridge Armory. A new roof is being put in place on the nearly 90-year-old landmark at a pricetag of $$30 million.
The renovation has prompted Bronx City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell to send a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposing using the country's largest armory for the country's best athletes.
“I think it could be a tremendous use for the next Olympics or any Olympics, and as we try to get the 2012 Olympics here in New York it gives us an excellent opportunity to get the money to try to transform this into a world class Olympic training facility,” Koppell said Friday.
The 575,000 square foot armory literally has been falling down for years and has been mostly vacant. Two years ago, northwest Bronx activists put a video proposal together urging then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to build schools in the site.
They're still pushing the idea, but the thought of an official Olympic facility helping to get funds to rehab the armory is creating interest.
“I would love to see the next Sara Hughes or the next great track star come out of the Bronx, but we have to address the school issue. That's the most important thing right now,” said Ronn Jordan of the Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition.
The Giuliani administration proposed building a mega-mall and a sports-entertainment complex at the site with $$110 million of public and private funds.
Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion used to be the councilman for the area. He too says he's eager to sit down with the Bloomberg administration to talk about renovating the armory.
“We have a unique opportunity with a massive site like this. It covers four square blocks, and it could be part of the 2012 Olympics bid,” said Carrion.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation says the Bloomberg administration is currently studying various proposals for the armory.
- Dean Meminger