The old Jamaica Armory will be getting $91 million in federal funding for a massive expansion and renovation, according to Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Gregory Meeks.
The two leaders announced Friday that following their push, sorely-needed and long-sought projects at the facility, now known as the Jamaica Readiness Center, cleared a major hurdle and the funding will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which has just been finalized and is expected to pass next week.
“This huge federal investment will completely revamp and modernize the Jamaica Armory and serve as a boon and anchor to the Queens community, the National Guard and all of New York City,” Schumer said. “Working with my partner, Congressman Gregory Meeks, I am proud that we have secured tens of millions in vital federal funding in the NDAA. The readiness of our nation’s military in built, in part, on adequate facilities that support troops. Soon the National Guard will have the funds needed to improve the long-term readiness and recruitment capabilities of the Jamaica Armory here in Queens.”
The inadequate and outdated condition of the facility impacts the New York Army National Guard’s emergency response capabilities in the city. The funding will provide essential new infrastructure, replace outdated mechanical systems, and eliminate current environmental and safety hazards.
“The readiness center, along with with the repairs and improvements of the existing space, has been a much sought after upgrade for the National Guard, and will be instrumental in their continued operations here in my district,” Meeks said. “I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their leadership and cooperation in getting this done.”
At the urging of Schumer and Gillibrand last March, the military construction project at the Jamaica Readiness Center was listed number one on the Army National Guard’s Unfunded Priorities List. Prior to the senators’ and congressman’s intervention, no funds were allocated to the Jamaica Readiness Center in the Future Years Defense Program.
“The funding will be used to support unit training, mobilization, emergency response, and logistics,” Gillibrand said. “The Jamaica Armory is essential to our country’s national defense, the Army’s mission, and the New York community.”
A Meeks’ amendment, prohibiting the Department of Defense from naming assets after confederate leaders or battlefield victories, was included in the final passage of NDAA.
“Any homage to the Confederacy serves only to glorify that inglorious moment in our nation’s history, where brother turned on brother for the preservation of slavery,” Meeks said. “Confederate symbols have historically been used as tools of oppression and intimidation, during the height of Jim Crow long after the Civil War, used by states championing the segregation of African Americans. They are used today, among white nationalists and neo-Nazis. To ignore the racial context of confederate symbols is to whitewash the fundamental reason our nation went to war with itself.”
Assets includes any base, installation, facility, aircraft, ships, equipment, or any other property owned or controlled by the DoD.
“These are not symbols to be exalted, not in our public square and certainly not in our armed forces,” Meeks said. “Those we’ve entrusted to defend the union should not be serving on ships named after those who fought to undo it. I think all of my colleagues who joined together across party lines to rightfully end this practice once and for all.”