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Milford Beacon
  • City of Milford to take over Milford Armory

  • The Milford Armory on North Walnut Street may soon be put back into public use after sitting dormant for two years.
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  • The Milford Armory on North Walnut Street may soon be put back into public use after sitting dormant for two years.
    Milford City County voted unanimously last month to purchase the property from the state for $1. Councilwoman Katrina Wilson and Councilman Garrett Grier III were not present for the vote.
    The 76-year-old Milford Armory became a state surplus building last summer, after the Delaware National Guard moved out in March 2013 when local units from throughout the state – like the one previously stationed in Milford – were moved to a new, federally-funded facility in Newark.
    State Rep. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) and state Sen. Gary Simpson (R-Milford) have been working to find a public agency willing to take over the building for months.
    The state legislators initially presented an offer to the Milford School District in April, but school board members rejected the offer after raising concerns about the age of the building, its condition, and the potential cost of repairs, renovations and maintenance.
    City Manager Richard Carmean, however, told council the $1 deal was an offer they shouldn’t pass up.
    “We should really go ahead and purchase the thing and think of what to do with it after the fact,” he told the town’s elected officials on May 28.
    Carmean said he believes the two-story building, which includes a basketball court and recently-updated roof, is in relatively good shape.
    “I think it would really be an asset to this community,” he said. “There’s a deception to how big that main building is. I’m glad mayor and council supported doing it and that our local legislators thought of us and are willing in trying to assist us in obtaining it.”
    City officials are unsure of what exactly the property will be used for, but Carmean said it could be perfect for the town’s public works department to use as a station for cleaning dump and salt trucks, or to store equipment for the Parks and Recreation Department and the Milford Community Cemetery.
    The earliest the city could take over the property would be in July, but that timing will depend on when a bill authorizing the sale is passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Jack Markell, Kenton said.
    “When it comes to a vote, usually it’s a no-brainer,” Kenton said, adding that the armories in Middletown and Harrington have been repurposed in a similar fashion. “To me, it’s exciting to have a building not sitting there running down, but being put to public use. I’m glad the city was interested.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kenton said the sale of the armory, which sits on about four acres, would come with three stipulations: it must be sold as-is, it must be used only for public use and the state must be given the right of first refusal if the city ever wishes to sell it.
    Nearby residents said they are curious to see what the city plans to do with the property, which is located in a residential area along North Walnut Street and backs up to Benjamin Banneker Elementary School.
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