Attorney urges rehabilitation of abandoned base housing
By The Star Staff
For decades, dozens of homes that were once used by the military remained abandoned at the shuttered Ramey Base in Aguadilla that, some say, could be rehabilitated at a time when there is a shortage of structures.
Pro-statehood lawyer Gregorio Igartúa said it was in the 1990s when he first approached former Gov. Pedro Rosselló through his by then former chief of staff, Alvaro Cifuente, about rehabilitating the homes.
Why is he raising the issue again now? Igartúa said he is concerned that the homes remained abandoned.
“It is anti-Christian,” he said. “I want to bring it to the public’s attention to see if something is done.”
The Ramey Base shut down more than 50 years ago. Most of the homes were given to the now defunct Urban and House Renewal Corp., known as the CRUV, which sold the homes to residents. But the abandoned houses and an airport runway are owned by the Ports Authority.
Cifuentes at the time told Igartúa that the homes were being used to back Ports Authority bonds.
The houses sit in the middle of a forest area and while they have no doors or windows, the concrete structures remain intact. “That is a shame. Some of the houses are duplex and some of the buildings have four apartments,” he said, noting that the base borders the beach.
The structures were built in the 1940s for the use of civilian contractors brought down to work at Borinquen Field, usually on a six-month basis. Many came from Pennsylvania, which was the home state of the main contractor, McCloskey and Co. On the south side of the runway there were facilities for the civilians: a chapel, a swimming pool and a commissary, among others. In about 1950, about 10 units were torn down for the extension of the runway, according to information on the base.