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WJBD - Local News - Governor Signs Bill To Give Salem Armory to City of Salem

Governor Signs Bill To Give Salem Armory to City of Salem

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Governor Pat Quinn Friday morning signed a bill transferring control of the Salem Armory from the state to the City of Salem as of June 1st, 2013. There was incorrect language on the location of the Armory in an earlier bill that was corrected in the new Senate Bill approved by the legislature in the Fall Veto Session.

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen says the Governor's signature will allow the city to move forward on reuse of the Armory building at North College and West Warmoth Streets. "We olny received one proposal for using that building and it came from US Sonet. I'm interested in moving forward on a proposal for zoning that would allow for some appropriate use of the Armory. It is not an ideal situation that we have now because the building is not being used or monitored day in and day out so I think there is some danger the building could fall into some disrepair," Gruen explained. "That would not be the case if the building was being used in an appropriate way."

U.S. Sonet's proposal includes moving their business operation to the Armory as well as making some unused space available to the community for meetings and other activities.

While Gruen was not clear on why the bill specified the deed transfer won't occur until June first of next year, he says the city can work within the time frame. He notes city workers are monitoring the building in addition to any upkeep being done by the state. The Armory is no longer used now that the Salem National Guard unit has been merged into the new Mt. Vernon Readiness Center.

Gruen thanked State Representative John Cavaletto for his assistance in getting the bill approved in the fall veto session.  

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