FOLEY – Plans are being developed to renovate Foley’s former National Guard armory into space for recreation facilities and city offices.

The Foley City Council voted Monday, March 4, to approve funding to design development and construction plans for the armory, which is located behind City Hall.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the move will allow the city to start plans to convert the space into municipal uses, including recreation spaces.

“Our armory design group was approved by the council, Hellmich said. “So we’ll be moving for the expansion of our rec services.”

David Thompson, Foley executive director of leisure services, said the plan is the next step in moving forward with the project.

“What we’re asking you to do is move forward with the actual design of it,” Thompson told council members. 

He said the appropriation includes fees for the architecture firm working on the project and some funds for additional contingencies.

The city has developed a general conceptual plan for the building. The new plan will allow Foley officials to go into final design details in preparation for the start of construction.

“The conceptual plan is really a 1,000-foot plan,” Thompson said. “This is when they get into the weeds so we’ll know a little more as they do that.”

Thompson said the schedule on the project will depend on what designers find that needs to be done.

“It’s just going to depend on how quickly they’re able to work through the design process and how much work they need to do,” he said.

The armory opened in 1969. It served as the headquarters for the Foley contingent of the Alabama Army National Guard until the unit moved into a new facility near the Foley Beach Express in 2023.

The city donated the land on which the new armory was built. In exchange for the property, the National Guard gave the city the former armory site.