Last month’s election was the last to be held at the Christiansburg Armory. The Department of the Army has broken the contract with the town and will not allow any more public activities at the College Street facility.
Col. Charlton T. Dunn, assistant chief of staff for the U.S. Army’s Construction and Facilities Management Office, said in a letter the current social environment continues to demand greater physical security measures.
“This has caused us to discontinue use and rentals by non-National Guard organizations indefinitely at other Readiness Centers throughout the state,” he said.
This includes the Christiansburg location. Dunn also pointed to the fact that the discovery of a previously unrecognized lead dust problem would require expensive remediation measures in order to allow public use.
“Although we have completed testing and cleaning of the affected areas, we are not currently funded to complete the required renovations to Army standards. Continued use by the general public leaves us vulnerable to liability from illness and injury associated with lead dust,” he said.
The town’s recreation department is the hardest hit by the change. For over 60 years, the town has used the armory to hold recreational activities.
Brad Epperley, the department’s director, said armory activities stopped in August. Classes, such as dog obedience, had been held there up until that point.
He said current recreational activities are now being programmed at 415 Cambria Street, N.W., (the Old Mayflower Building, the town purchased to allow a new park road from Peppers Ferry Road).
“We did not have to miss any recreational programs during this transition,” Epperly said.
The Christiansburg Armory was established as a polling site in 2006, and Montgomery County Voter Registrar Connie Viar said that effective immediately polling has moved to the Victory Restoration Church off Mud Pike Road on Bishops Gate Road. The Montgomery County board of supervisors approved the move in October. Affected voters will receive a notice of change in the mail.
The same letter that cut ties with the town also stated that the current facility is not big enough for the number of Guardsmen and their activities.
“Although, we are continuing our plans for increased use of the current facility (on College Street in Christiansburg), our property is not adequate to support a significant expansion. Therefore, we are also seeking additional acreage in the area,” Dunn concluded.
There has been no comment on the timetable for a possible construction of a new armory.