City still misfires at Armory

The renovation of the Park Slope Armory has … military drum roll … been delayed again.

The city will give would-be operators two more weeks to submit proposals for the enormous and long-underutilized facility.

Now, responses are due on Oct. 11.

It’s only the latest in a series of delays that have irritated community members and made local athletes jumpy. In 2004, when the city announced its $16-million renovation of the enormous Eighth Avenue building, between 14th and 15th streets, it predicted the center would be open by October 2006.

Now, the city hopes to cut the ribbon in 2008.

“I am very curious and eager to see what happens,” said Mike Berk, a Prospect Park West resident and cyclist who currently buffs up at the YMCA on Ninth Street, a good 10-block walk from his home.

“I just hope it’s cheaper than the Y.”

According to the city’s requirements, the Armory must continue to house a women’s shelter and veteran affairs offices.

But the almost-finished renovation, which includes a new running track, will be available for uses ranging from shot put to table tennis to indoor soccer, according to the city request for proposals.

The operator would have to generate enough revenue to maintain the space, either via membership or other usage fees.

Area activists were surprisingly tolerant of, or maybe just resigned to, the additional delay.

“It could have been done quicker,” said Tony Kleckner, the head of the Armory Committee of the Park Slope Civic Council. “But frankly, the original deadline was pretty aggressive. I’m not surprised they pushed it back.”

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