Paterson (NJ) Seeks Funds for Green Renovation of Historic Armory

By turning this 113-year-old former armory into a modern green recreation center, the city of Paterson hopes to take a major step forward in its fight to clean up one of its most crime-ridden areas.

Paterson, New Jersey is considering a renovation of its 113-year-old Armory on Market Street into a state-of-the-art, green community recreation center as a strategy to fight juvenile crime in one of the city’s most depressed neighborhoods. City officials are currently petitioning state and federal representatives in order to fund it. An $80,000 feasibility study performed by Newark-based architects GRAD Associates put the price tag for the renovations at $12 million; although the firm found the building to be structurally sound, it requires new HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, asbestos abatement, and fire stairwells, among other repairs.

GRAD’s study considered creating various sports facilities on the first floor of the Armory with job counseling and other social services across its second and third floors. The project would have a number of green design features, including various air filtration systems, cross-ventilation techniques, energy-efficient lighting, a graywater system, and insulated doors and windows.

Architect Allen Trousdale, who led the study on behalf of GRAD, noted that “[p]art of the result of a green building design is that the annual costs of operation, utility and electricity is lessened. For a long-term owner like the city, all of these additional costs would be paid off.” The Armory has been abandoned since 1990 and is the former home of the New Jersey National Guard; it also hosted various clubs and social events during the city’s more prosperous days.

New Jersey and the federal government must find a way to assist Paterson in funding this important project. Retrofitting existing buildings with energy-efficient and other green design features must be a key component of construction and infrastructure spending over the next decade, while projects that aim to improve their surrounding communities include perhaps the most important piece of any definition of sustainable design.

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