Beating a Dead Horse in Barnstable, Over and Over Again
A Fanciful Look at Re-Development Options for the Hyannis Armory
Today the former armory on South Street in Hyannis stands as a monument to government paralysis in Barnstable. Every few years the town talks about a re-use for the property, but nothing happens and the building continues to blight downtown Hyannis - and it's no easy task to blight an already blighted area.
The most recent "redevelopment project" was when the co-founder of Christmas Tree Shops wanted to turn the armory into a cultural center. Apparently someone thought better of this, especially since the increased traffic and noise would disturb the homeless people who camp in the woods behind the armory.
With Barnstable once again reviewing options for the abandoned armory, we offer our own fantasies of how the place might be rehabilitated:
Future Mayoral Residence: From time to time, the good people of Barnstable talk about switching to a mayoral form of government. Re-purposing the armory as a mayoral mansion would be an excellent use of the property, would show that they mayor felt safe sleeping in downtown Hyannis and provides a well-fortified bunker in which to hide when the gunshots commence.
Homeless Hostel: Conveniently located next to a homeless camp and in the heart of Cape Cod's street-bum capitol, the armory could offer showers, bathrooms, a soup kitchen and lodging when the weather is too cold to camp in the woods. Part of the main assembly room's roof could be opened into a vented atrium so that cooking fires wouldn't set off the smoke alarms.
Downtown Police Station: The town continues to rent space on Main Street for a police substation. Redeveloping the armory into a downtown law enforcement annex would not only save the town some rent money, it would provide ample parking for the paddy wagon as well as a fenced area for prisoner transfer. As with the proposed mayoral mansion, the building is better fortified than a Main Street storefront when the bullets can start to fly after dark.
Hyannis Minutemen Militia Armory: With little capital outlay, the armory could be set back to its original use as an armory - this time for a new "Hyannis Minutemen" militia, which would take neighborhood watch to a new level of vigilantism. Angry business owners and downtown citizens would be trained in the use of assault weapons and then turned loose on the streets of Hyannis after dark each night.
Meth Hag Treatment Annex: Again with minimal renovation the property could become a second campus for Osterville's Walter White Institute for Meth Amphetamine Studies, as profiled recently in News of the Cape spoof site.
We welcome reader suggestions for re-use of the former Hyannis Armory.
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