Funding to maintain Cranston Street Armory on hold

The Cranston Street Armory in Providence.

The Cranston Street Armory in Providence offers passers-by a glimpse into the past.

"You don't find architecture like that anymore. You couldn't pay to get it done," one woman said.

People who live nearby are worried it won't be here in the future, because $3 million set aside for much-needed maintenance has been put on hold until the state decides what to do with the building.

"We have to recognize that the spending of $3 million is an asset protection spending. It's preservation as opposed to demolition," said state Sen. Paul Jabour, D-Providence.

The state took a group of people who might be interested in renovating the 107-year-old building on a tour Thursday.

State leaders said maintenance can be extremely expensive so they're waiting until a more permanent plan is in place.

"Right now, the estimates are in the tens of millions of dollars for the repairs that are needed for this so the state is currently assessing what are the critical repairs that are needed at this time," said Allison Rogers of the Department of Administration.

The state is currently spending money to heat the building for its lone occupant, the fire marshal's office.

"To upkeep monthly in the winter time is up to $30,000," Jabour said.

The state hopes one of the bidders comes up with an innovative idea for a private or public partnership. Jabour said he hopes it happens quickly so this piece of history doesn't become a thing of the past.