The James D. Conte Center, a former armory in Huntington Station, has been awarded $1.5 million in state aid, which town Supervisor Frank Petrone said will go toward design and construction costs for renovating the building.
The center will be used for recreation, with a full-size indoor basketball court and meeting rooms, and it will provide space for Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244.
"The money will go toward the construction costs for the adaptive reuse of the armory," Petrone said. "It's part of a multifaceted strategy to revitalize Huntington Station."
The town applied for the grant as part of Round IV of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The awards were announced Thursday.
Last summer, the town board agreed to spend as much as $800,000 to remediate the 25,255-square-foot building at 100 E. Fifth St. by removing asbestos, lead and mold. The board also selected Syosset-based Liro Engineers Inc. to provide hazardous material abatement, project design, project monitoring and air sampling. The $42,956 contract is being paid with capital funds.
Remediation is expected to begin next year and has been estimated to cost $1 million, which will come from various town funds. After the cleanup, work is to start on the design for the center.
"The bottom line here is you're revitalizing the community and also giving people additional opportunities and building up their quality of life," Petrone said. "That's what community center approach is -- it networks different resources that a community center has to offer."
The state transferred ownership of the 3.6-acre site and building to the town in April 2013. Conte, an assemblyman from Huntington Station who died in October 2012, was instrumental in securing the transfer of the decommissioned building, which was used by the New York Army National Guard before it closed June 1, 2011.