PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The future of the Cranston Street Armory is unclear after no funding was allocated to redevelop the space which once served as an emergency homeless shelter.
The building opened as a 24-hour warming station late last year to provide shelter during the winter months, and just recently ended operations in May.
Providence Mayor Brett Smiley said the revitalization of the building is a “critical project” in the city’s economic development.
“Additionally, it is the source of millions of dollars of short-term repair expenses for the state,” Smiley said in a statement to 12 News. “We are disappointed the state has not chosen to invest in a productive use, making this an asset for everyone in greater Providence. We will continue working with the state to identify other funds to move this project forward.”
R.I. Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor previously said the armory would not be turned into a permanent homeless shelter, saying he recognized the burden it placed on the neighborhood. Residents who lived nearby had repeatedly expressed concerns over increased drug use and litter, specifically in Dexter Park, located directly across from the building.
After the armory ended its shelter operations, the Rhode Island Department of Housing announced new emergency shelter locations in various areas across the state for those still experiencing homelessness.