Federal Government Passes on Using Army Reserved Center for Immigrant Housing

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BRYAN Plans to use the old Army Reserve Center in Bryan to house some of the immigrant children that have arrived in Texas is a "no-go". The City of Bryan received word today from the Department of Health and Human Services that the building was not large enough or immediately ready to use.

The building on West Carson Street and Bomber Avenue will sit vacant for the time being after DHHS decided to pass on using the building as a housing and processing facility for hundreds of undocumented immigrant children.

The nearly 30-thousand square foot building appeared, on the outside, to be a suitable spot to address the growing humanitarian crisis.According to DHHS, the facility isn't large enough and needs major work which makes it unavailable for immediate use.

Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski told News 3 today that he agrees. "I didn't believe the building was habitable in its pertinent condition. The building needs a lot of improvements and repairs to it."

Bienski expressed his displeasure with the idea, saying he doesn't believe it's the city's responsibility to handle this immigration issue. Prior to the federal government's interest in the building last month, Bienski says the City of Bryan was working the General Services Commission to get the building back in hopes of using it as a possible Senior Recreation Center. Now, that the building isn't being considered, he says the city will work with the agency to transfer the building back. When that will happen, is uncertain.

Bienski says, "We were hoping to have this resolved this summer, but because of the setback, and they've got a lot of other things they are working on right now. There may be some delays. We will be working with Congressman Flores' office to transfer the property back to the citizens of Bryan."

Mayor Bienski mentioned a three- year reverter clause meaning the if the property isn't used by the federal government in three years, it automatically goes back to the city. The building has been vacant for about two years, so the City of Bryan could get the old Army Reserve Center back by default, provided the federal government doesn't re-purpose the building during that time.