The Army National Guard has backed out of a hard-fought deal to preserve two crumbling historic buildings in the Brooklyn Navy Yard — and local pols are furious at the betrayal.
In 2009, the Army agreed to preserve two structures, the Timber Shed and Building B, in the crumbling, 19th-century Admirals Row on the Flushing Avenue side of the Navy Yard.
But now the Army is saying that the 158-year-old Timber Shed is too rundown to repair, an assessment based on two engineering studies from March and May 2010.
“Both revealed that the Timber Shed was not worth saving,” said National Guard spokesman Jon Anderson.
The Army National Guard controls the 19th-century houses, but decades of federal neglect left the houses in shambles — and most likely will be completely unsalvageable when the property is transferred to the city later this year.
The Army has to jump through various legal hoops outlined by the National Historic Preservation Act before it can repair the structures, a process that started in 2007 and has yet to yield any actual preservation.
Fed up with the foot-dragging, local politicians are demanding that the Army allow the city or the Navy Yard to do the repairs.
“Admirals Row is a national landmark,” Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement. “It appeared that we had an agreement to preserve these historic buildings, but bureaucratic hurdles are now getting in the way.”
Navy Yard CEO Andrew Kimball thinks the Timber Shed can be saved — if he can get his hands on the structure and the $2 million earmarked for repairs.
“We are very concerned that even waiting another few months will allow those buildings to deteriorate, especially the Timber Shed,” he said.
But the Army is refusing access, based on significant heath and safety issues on-site. “All we’re saying is that when we transfer the property, the Timber Shed will be as is” at the time of the transfer,” said Anderson.
©2011 Community News Group
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