Press-Republican

Local News

March 9, 2014

Two entities eye Army Reserve Center

MALONE — Two local entities have declared interest in owning the former U.S. Army Reserve Center in Malone that was deemed surplus government property in 2011.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne and Barnabas House Homeless Shelter and Services Director the Rev. Joe Selenski have each filed letters of intent to seek ownership and then reuse the Finney Boulevard site.

Federal guidelines give first priority to homeless services.

Next consideration goes to law-enforcement purposes.

Champagne has campaigned for nearly three years to obtain the property as the headquarters for a multi-agency task force of local, state and federal agents and officers to battle crime along the Canadian border.

He says the site could also help convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the U.S. Department of Justice Services to award Malone a state/federal Crime Analysis Center.

That facility could encompass focused law-enforcement strategies for Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties, Champagne said, as well as six other northern counties with international-border boundaries.

‘UNDER ONE ROOF’

Selenski, pastor of Lifeway Community Church and director of the single-occupancy site Hope House, both in North Bangor, has been involved with solving homelessness issues in Franklin County for more than a decade.

He partners with other public and private agencies to help struggling individuals and families get back on their feet.

Having the Reserve Center could bring many of these scattered services and job-training opportunities under one roof, he said.

That could include employment and mental-health counseling, short-term efficiency housing, emergency housing for fire victims and more.

Selenski said he will be looking to form a coalition with partner agencies to assess whether the Reserve Center property would meet the proposed needs of the homeless and disadvantaged or whether it would be too expensive to operate and maintain.

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