WILKES-BARRE — The West Pittston National Guard Armory will be closed, probably by the end of the year, state officials announced Tuesday.
According to Nate Silcox, executive director of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, a joint informational meeting was held Tuesday morning in Harrisburg with the same committee of the House and the decision was made to close four national guard armories.
The committee is chaired by state Sen. Randy Vulakovich.
In addition to West Pittston, the three other armories to be closed are located in Oil City, Kane and East Stroudsburg.
Silcox said guard members attached to each armory will have the opportunity to transfer to another unit closest to their legislative districts.
National Guard Company D, First Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment is housed at West Pittston. The unit has about 65 members.
State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, said he was informed about the decision during a conference call last week.
“While it’s not good to see the National Guard armory in West Pittston leave the district, I understand the intent behind the decision,” Kaufer said. “In order to best serve the needs and consolidate and regionalize, this is what the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs thought would be best.”
Silcox said he did not know when the armories would be shut down, but it could be by the end of the year.
Silcox said a review of all facilities was done and each was ranked. He said there were several reasons the four armories were selected for closure.
“The committee looked at the age of the buildings, deficiencies in each and the cost of remedial actions,” Silcox said.
Silcox said the West Pittston armory was built in 1959 and is located in the flood plane.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.