Engaged Buffalo couple looking for a big clean space

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The carefully laid wedding plans of Mike Nosek and Clara Quadra seem to be on the verge of being scuttled by the Army National Guard, which cancelled their reservation for the Connecticut Street Armory.

Mike and Clara planned to hold their reception at the armory on July 1, but the Guard cancelled all non-military activities at the cavernous facility due to lead contamination, which has become a national issue for the Guard.

The Buffalo couple invited about 300 guests from around the world and the Connecticut Street armory was one of the few places available that could hold that many people, but in December the National Guard notified everyone that scheduled non-military activities they would have to look elsewhere.

Many of the Army National Guard armories across the country had indoor firing ranges, at one time, which kicked up a lot of lead dust–a toxin that can be especially harmful for children. As a result, the National Guard Bureau, a unit of the U.S. Department of Defense, closed all of the tainted armories to outside activities.

Mike and Clara contacted Call 4 Action, and their dilemma was reported last month. State National Guard officials got busy cleaning up the armory in the public area, but the military-only sectors that are off limits to the public still need some work.

Despite the clean-up, Nosek learned the National Guard Bureau is sticking to its policy barring non-military use, “Because some of the private areas have lead, the federal government still declared the building off-limits for public events.”

That hard line by the federal government has left Nosek feeling frustrated, after the State National Guard seemed so “gung-ho” resuming activities at the armory, “’we are going to get this clean for you, everything is going to be all set,’ and then when they get it clean, the federal government will not let it happen, it is just heartbreaking.”

A spokesman for New York’s Division of Military and Naval Affairs, which commands New York’s Army National Guard, emailed News 4 a statement Monday that they are appealing the government’s decision, which is giving Mike and Clara new hope, although it is fading.

In the meantime, the engaged couple is weighing their options. They could have a civil wedding, and hold the reception at a later date. Mike and Clara are also sorting through offers for other venues.

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