After a few months of negotiations, construction is under way for the new American Legion Post 163.
The legion sold its old building, off Eureka Street, in September and used the funds to purchase a piece of property beside Cartwright Park.
“When we closed Sept. 10, we came out and started turning up dirt,” Bret Watson, vice commander, said. “We’ve got pads built up and the excavators are putting drives in.”
When the land was originally purchased, a few city buildings stood, surrounded by yards of dirt and brush.
But the legion got its workload lightened after a fire July 3.
“They said it was from people setting off fireworks nearby, and it burned the brush up,” Watson said.
In the last few weeks, plumbing has been put in, and concrete slabs are scheduled to be poured later on this week.
Once completed, the metal structure will span 5,600 square feet, including a 2,000-square-foot dance hall.
“We’re hoping to have everything done by the first of the year,” Watson said. “But we’ve already had people calling wanting to rent our hall for parties or weddings or things like that.”
Since vacating their building on Eureka, officers of the legion have conducted their meetings at various locations, including home garages, but recently began meeting in a small trailer located on the Cartwright property.
“We had 25 to 30 people in there for our last meeting,” Ron Chandler, past commander and finance officer for the legion, said. “It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘togetherness.’”
With a well, electricity and phone lines already set up, a septic system is scheduled to go in next week.
“We would’ve loved to stay in our old building, but we couldn’t get enough money to refurbish it,” commander Bill Mallory said. “We have some guys who have been meeting there for 40 years.”
Officers scheduled a moving sale in mid September, while sifting through files and artifacts that had made their home in the Eureka building.
Chandler said the company that purchased the old legion headquarters plans to turn it into a rehab center.