Demolition is underway and expected to be completed today, June 12, of part of a former U.S. Army Reserve Center the city of Whitehall has owned since 2012.

The area will be cleared and used as additional green space to adjacent John Bishop Park, said Kaitlin King, a spokeswoman for the city.

The site once was considered for soccer fields but was deemed too small for that purpose, King said.

Whitehall officials have been contemplating how best to repurpose the former armory for nearly a decade since the federal government declared the parcel as surplus property and offered it freely to Whitehall, with the contingency that it benefit the public.

The front half of the 14,320-square-foot armory, equal to about 9,900 square feet, is being demolished.

The demolition cost $67,000; another $45,000 is set aside for asbestos abatement, said Mayor Kim Maggard.

Later this year, a 2,300-square-foot addition to an existing garage at the site will be built and will be used as new restrooms and a kitchen for staff of the parks and recreation department, Maggard said.

The salvaged portion of the armory, once used as a drill room, will be used as cold storage for city-owned vehicles and equipment, she said.

City Councilman Wes Kantor was on hand to observe the demolition June 12.

“It was long overdue and it was an eyesore,” said Kantor, adding he hopes that can persuade the parks and recreation commission to use the space for at least one soccer field.

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