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Robert Kennedy, Freeport mayor, wants armory for the use of its public works department

The New York State Armory on Babylon Turnpike

The New York State Armory on Babylon Turnpike in Freeport. Mayor Robert T. Kennedy has called on the state to return the armory, which has been closed since 2011, to the village, to house its public works department. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy on Monday called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to return the local state armory to the village so its Department of Public Works can move into it.

The armory, which used to house a national guard unit, has been closed since 2011 and much of the three acres on which it sits has been leased to the county for equipment storage.

“Back in 1949, the village of Freeport donated the armory to the state,” Kennedy said, standing in front of the site on Babylon Turnpike and Grand Avenue.

“Now the village is in dire need of this armory to protect Freeport’s DPW equipment, particularly for use in emergencies,” he said.

During superstorm Sandy, in October 2012, Kennedy said, the site flooded and “suffered millions of dollars of damage to its structure, equipment, vehicles and fuel storage tanks. The Village of Freeport cannot allow this to happen again.”

Joining Kennedy at a cold morning news conference Monday were state Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa); Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook); and county legislators Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and Steven Rhoads (R-Bellmore).

Venditto said the senate last year passed a law to return the facility to the village. “We are going to ask the Assembly to pass it too,” he said.

Both Currans — they are not related — said they supported the bill. “We must see that it passes,” Brian Curran said.

“This bill is a no-brainer,” Laura Curran said.

The armory has been a tug of war between the mayor and the deputy speaker of the county legislature, Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), who has pushed to have the armory turned over to a community group for use of at-risk children.

“I still plan to present a bill as soon as possible to use that facility for the people in a hands-on manner,” she said.

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