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Riverhead discusses plans for armory

While the process to transfer ownership of the state armory building on Old Country Road in Riverhead to the town winds its way through Albany, the Riverhead Town Board discussed plans Thursday to convert the building into a new home for its police department and justice court.

The discussion occurred in Albany, where two bills, one in the State Senate and another in the Assembly, have been introduced.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said he hopes the 6-acre site will be conveyed, at a cost of $1, to the town in the next few months.

The building needs to be retrofitted to serve the police and justice courts. Armories are known for environmental hazards, such as lead from the bullets fired on the property and asbestos. Town officials said they have been told that the lead has been removed.

Once the police and justice court have been moved to the building, town officials plan to bring off-site departments, such as accounting in Town Hall West on Pulaski Street, back to the main complex. They’re hoping the armory building will have sufficient space for the ambulance corps.

The conveyance of National Guard armories, which are no longer in use, to towns is not new. In 1994, Smithtown purchased a similar armory for $1, later giving the land and building to the town’s library system for a new library.

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