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October 19, 2013 - 11:42pm

Batavia Armory: A gem in the rough?

posted by Robert Brown in Batavia Armory.

My route to the GCLP Liberty Garden (located at the Batavia Youth Center's public garden) required me to pass by the New York State Armory on State Street in Batavia many times this summer. I usually posted to my Facebook friends and Twitter followers on the limited signs of life (deer, woodchucks, rabbits, the occasional grounds mower...) sighted which tended to ignite conversations about the building vacancy and potential uses for the extensive and somewhat unique hilled property.

Maybe it could be used as an office building. How about a restaurant and drive-in theater? Maybe a driving range in the summer and a tubing hill in the winter. Maybe a new neighborhood could be built tucked in behind everything with ample wooded surroundings and maybe a pond. Is the property big enough for a 9 hole par 3 golf course? How about something, anything, other than sitting idle and being maintained at taxpayer expense, or worse, deteriorating until we have another taxpayer expense for removal?

Last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend's post that indicated the Batavia Armory is going up for auction on Nov. 13th for the low, low starting bid of $80,000! Those of us online at the midnight hour had a quick conversation about how it would be great to get the property back on the tax rolls and utilized!

We then discussed a few other options that may be even more appropriate and just as equally beneficial to taxpayers. Could this be the site of the new Batavia police station if we have to abandon the current location? Could this facility be used to solve the County's female inmate problem? Could it be used to augment the County jail so we're not forced to hire 10 more guards or be pressured into building a brand new jail? Could this facility get the County out of leasing space on Route 5 and other sites that are costing taxpayers somewhere between $600K to $1M annually? An $80K investment to solve any one of those problems seems like a bargain!

Then again, since the State already owns the site and since it was funded by taxpayer dollars, why can't the City or County obtain the property from the State via one of those magical $1 transfers we often read about? Hmmm...

Whether the property gets sold to a private interest who develops it or it is used to solve one of the budget concerns for the City and/or County, this property presents opportunity for City and County taxpayers. Let's hope we don't miss out and end up continuing to babysit a property that has already consumed a significant amount of our tax dollars.

WGRZ's coverage of the Batavia Armory sale can be seen at:

http://www.wgrz.com/news/article/229880/37/State-to-Auction-Off-Batavia-Armory

Mark Potwora
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Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

This has many possibilities..If the city wants it it would have to ask fast..Auction less then a month away..Wonder if the bomb shelter come with that...

Bob Price
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Joined: Nov 15 2008 - 3:33pm

All the ideas Howard wrote about are good-I think City police barracks or a restaurant/drive in movie would be great idea-look how the Silver Lake drive in has prospered the last few years-they draw people from all over WNY. Whatever happened to the STAR program that used to be at the Armory(for kids that were problems in school,etc....)?

Dave Olsen
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Joined: Oct 12 2008 - 11:48am

Bob; Howard didn't write the article, Robert Brown candidate for Genesee County Legislature did. They are all great ideas. He has many. The STAR program is still in effect, although I'm not sure if it is on the Armory grounds or not.

Frank Penna Jr
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Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: May 17 2009 - 5:47pm

The STAR program is at the old US Army Reserve building at the corner of Oak St. and Park Rd.

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