Armory era ends

The news that the Mississippi Army National Guard intends to close the New Albany May 31 should come as no surprise to the community.

In reality, the armory, which is located near the county fairgrounds at 917 Fairgrounds Spur Road, has had little use for the last couple of years after the headquarters detachment unit was transferred to Tupelo. It was the former home of the 155th Armored Brigade.
The major event that has gone on there in the last couple of years is the annual packing and distribution of food and toys for the Gazette Sharing at Christmas holiday fundraising program.
The land always has belonged to the county, but it was leased to the national guard in January 1955 for a hundred years at $1 a year, according to Thad Mueller, county attorney. The guard wanted to end the lease, he said.
Many guard armories in small communities around the country are being closed and operations centralized to save money. It ends an era when the community armory often was a center for social events in the community.
As we understand it, the county is considering several possibilities to use the building, including relocation of the county emergency management office to the facility.
The building itself is in relatively decent shape, although it needs heating and air conditioning work. Both men’s and women’s restrooms were completely updated in the last several years.
We think the county will find many uses for the armory and it was a wise decision by the county to allow the national guard to end its lease and return the facility to the county.