BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — After years of pleas from locals, the city Department of Homeless Services has agreed to consider converting part of a historic Bed-Stuy armory from a homeless shelter to a mixed-use recreation space.
The Department of Homeless Services has agreed to perform a feasibility study on turning the first floor of the 219-year-old Sumner Armory into a community center with a basketball court, a DHS spokeswoman said Wednesday.
But the city agency said the local community board would have to pony up for the cost of the evaluation.
"A feasibility study is welcomed by the Department of Homeless Services if funded by the community," the spokeswoman said.
Community Board 3 chair Tremaine Wright welcomed the progress toward securing the massive space for use by all Bed-Stuy residents, and moving the homeless shelter to the second floor.
"It is a step in the right direction, and it's what we've been fighting for, for a very long time," he said. "This was the biggest hurdle."
State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and Councilman Albert Vann formed a committee in 2011, Wright said, to improve the 2.62-acre building at 357 Marcus Garvey Blvd. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz committed $2 million then to clean up the armory, according to reports.
Locals have had their eye on the armory because of the size of its large first-floor drill hall, which would be used for the recreation area, Wright said. Residents have called for amenities like a bowling alley.
"This is the greatest amount of space available in this structure, so this is something we, as a community, have been fighting for," Wright said.
The Sumner Armory was closed for military use in 1971 and reopened as a homeless shelter, according to the State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
Wright did not immediately provide information on the start date for the feasibility study, how much it will cost or who will pay for it.