MALONE — The U.S. Army Reserve Center on Finney Boulevard has cleared federal legal hoops and is being offered first to homeless advocates, then law-enforcement officials.
Pastor Joe Selenski, director of Barnabas House, the only homeless shelter in Franklin County, said he would be thrilled to see the property used for homeless services through a consortium of social-welfare agencies to help struggling individuals and families.
Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said that, if he gets the building, he would campaign to have the designation of Northern Border Intelligence Center for the site, with the aim to bring federal, state, county and local law-enforcement efforts together to better fight crime.
TWO BUILDINGS, LAND
The U.S. General Services Administration notified both men that it is prepared to dispose of the building and that a letter of intent expressing interest in its reuse is needed within 60 days.
The Lockwood Army Reserve Center was built in 1961 and includes a 24,325-square-foot training building, a 3,234-square- foot maintenance building and 4.28 acres of land.
The Village of Malone had expressed interest in moving its offices to the site, and possibly the Department of Public Works and Village Police Department, but nothing has a come of that idea.
Law-enforcement interests are seen as secondary under a federal law known as the McKinney Homelessness Assistance Act.
Use of a surplus government building goes to public or non-profit agencies that provide services and programs for a public benefit, in this priority: homeless services, corrections, law enforcement, drug rehabilitation, emergency-management response and housing.
“This could be an opportunity to handle the county’s homeless needs, transition-housing needs and supportive assistance,” Selenski said. “This could save the county a lot of money.
“I can’t do it alone,” the pastor said. “It’s too big a project. Barnabas House is just a drop in the bucket, but if the county were to come up with something, we’d be glad to offer any assistance we can to get it off the ground.”