New York State is overdue in returning the armory to Freeport
Transferring a former New York State armory in Freeport to the village should be a top priority of state lawmakers.
The 3-acre site had been a pawn in local politics as the village’s former Assembly representative tried repeatedly to sell it for $1 to a church run by a politically friendly pastor. The decision of what happens to the property is for Freeport residents to decide.
Freeport donated the site to the state in 1949. The state stopped using it in 2011. Giving it back is long overdue.
Assemb. Taylor Raynor, who now represents the area, made it a signature campaign promise, and both she and State Sen. John Brooks have introduced bills to return the property to the village. Democrats, who control both chambers of the State Legislature, however, have yet to move those bills along.
Robert Kennedy, mayor of a village where 32 percent of the property is off the tax rolls, wants to prioritize revenue. One possible plan is to move the Department of Public Works from its vulnerable waterfront location to the armory and sell the DPW real estate.
Another idea is to sell the armory on Babylon Turnpike for development and use the money to improve the DPW site, which was badly damaged in superstorm Sandy.
Evaluating the best use for the property will take time and study. That can’t start until the village has the title. — The editorial board