UPDATE: Work Continues on Marietta Armory

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UPDATE 9/26/2014 5:00 PM

It's been bringing Marietta together since 1914.

Empty for years, the Armory will soon be back in business.

And contractors are bidding for a chance to restore the ground level.

The structure of the building has already been restored.

The board has plans to rent the rooms inside to different community groups.

A big part of the project will be an indoor ODOT hub for travelers.

Agencies like veterans affairs and the visitors bureau plan to rent the new space.

It will also have ADA approved restrooms - something board members say are rare in Marietta.

"I'm the city council chair for lands, parks and buildings, so it is my responsibility to care for the buildings owned by the city of Marietta," says Councilman Harley Noland. "We are not trying to make this look like a new building. Next year we'll be celebrating the centennial - a hundred years of use by the community."

The ground level should be complete by September of next year.

It wouldn't be possible without grants and donations.

The work isn't costing the city a dime.

The rent from the incoming tenants will help with future upgrades, one level at a time.

UPDATE 3/19/2014 9:50 AM

Another step Tuesday night towards the opening of Marietta's Armory.

Armory Square Inc. met with city council and presented a new business plan for the ground floor of the Armory.

This part of the project is known as phase three, with most of the funding coming from a grant by ODOT which expires September of 2015.

There are plans to make the ground floor of the Armory a fully functioning resource for the community including a bus stop, ticket office and waiting room.

ADA restrooms with a grant from Sisters of St. Joseph, a welcome and educational information center and a meeting space for city council and community groups are also part of the plan.

"We're not changing anything, we're just dividing it in phases," says Jane Tumas-Serna, President of Armory Square, Inc. "So we hope to have them put in the mechanicals and to put in the bathrooms so that we can have occupancy."

She also says the project really is moving along and the structural work that was completed in phase two will make it easier to have phase three completed by the time the grant expires.

The Armory is in a tight situation with funds but has made some progress.

Representatives from ODOT and the Federal Highway were at the Armory this morning, reviewing the progress made on phase two and to learn more about the options for phase three.

"We do have grants but right now we are not going to be able to meet the deadline which was originally prescribed for us. So what we asked the folks today with the Federal Highway and ODOT here, it there any leeway or wiggle room we have so to speak, to be able to do these grants," said Marietta Mayor, Joe Matthews.

As a result of the meeting, ODOT has requested they are sent an update of the project, revised budget and timeline. The Armory board is going request of ODOT to extend the project so they can raise the funds needed.

"We the deadline they have demanded of us, or asked us to do, we can't meet that deadline right now because we don't have all the funding for matching, so to speak," said Matthews.

Right now the Armory does not have enough funds to complete phase three. ODOT informed Armory board today there are no more extra funds available through them.

However Andy Coleman Director of Development for the City of Marietta, says this can be a positive thing.

"That shows their continued interest in the project and that they are not going to pull the plug immediately on the project, so with that being said they have opened up the door for us to reply for the grant with a new scope and a new budget and a new timeline that they will consider, and I think that is a positive, they did not shut the door," said Andy Coleman.

One of the stipulations of the grant is that it has to result in a Certificate of Occupancy for the portion of the building the funds are going to be used for. Phase three hopes to complete the downstairs of the Armory.

"We have so many different options, we have the availability for spaces for retail and offices. In the building we have the availability for a community center, as you can see this completed floor here with a new roof. So the possibilities from here out are endless, but it is a positive for the community," said Coleman.

The city has been back and forth with many grants in the past years but right now the Armory is trying to raise the funds through non-profits. Armory Square INC. is working with the Armory. They are also taking donations and along with many other different opportunities. For more information about donating contact Armory Square INC. or the City of Marietta

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