John Hunt Park Armory to become senior fitness center
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The armory in John Hunt Park is getting a massive makeover and will go from serving the military to serving senior citizens.
Previously, the armory housed the national guard but since 2017 It’s been vacant. This was a part of the Alabama National Guard facilities master plan. It reported it opted to consolidate several armories across the state to reduce costs and to meet the state budget.
The project plans to transform the armory with a small part of it being made into the new front office for John Hunt Park administration. However, the majority of it will be an exercise center for elderly people with Parkinson’s disease.
It’s been running the program from a smaller space that could no longer accommodate its program. The armory will be a much bigger area and the city will rent it out to them at a discounted rate. The City of Huntsville will cover the cost of renovations but the senior center is currently taking donations to buy equipment.
“People are living longer. They’re working longer in life. They’re enjoying longer retirements, says Hamilton. “Age comes with those impacts that we need to do things to make sure we’re serving that segment of our community, that’s why senior centers exist”
Huntsville City Administrator, John Hamilton, says the armory may be unrecognizable after the renovations. They are planning on moving the walls and adding new restrooms and office spaces. The outside will get touched up as well. Hamilton says they will need a new roof and they will make some aesthetic changes to the building.
He says it will cost around $6 million. It will be partially funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. It’s federal money given to municipalities to help them financially recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Hamilton says the design plan should be done in about four months. The construction bid is expected to take place in the spring of 2022 followed by the construction itself. Hamilton said he thinks construction should take a year. He says the completion date is sometime in 2023.
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