American Legion asks for community support
CAMBRIDGE — Work is underway to restore the firedamaged American Legion Post 91 building, but the organization is in need of support from the community to bridge a gap in their funding.
The Post 91 building, situated just before the Frederick C. Malkus Bridge on U.S. Route 50 in Cambridge, was severely damaged by a fire in May 2016 when a lightning strike is thought to have started a fire above the facility’s main banquet hall.
According to Post 91 Commander Tom Anderson, the difference between the current funds and the total cost of restoration is between $300,000 and $400,000.
“The project that we’ve taken on is a $1.7 million project, and it does include some improvements,” Anderson said. “Many upgrades are required by codes, and some are Legion personal preferences to improve on things. We have $1.3 million in hand, so we’re about $300,000 to
$400,000 short. We’ve applied for grants and we are going to fundraise.”
The restored building will be more accessible to the disabled, as according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The exterior will see some improvement to make it more aesthetically pleasing, and to show off what the American Legion is all about with emblems displayed for each of the branches of the military.
Anderson said the building has not seen much improvement since it was purchased by Post 91 in 1956 and was converted from a car dealership.
“It will be a much nicer facility, and more designed to represent what we stand for,” said Anderson.
The members of Post 91 hope to be back in their building approximately this time next year.
In the meantime, they will be leasing Sailwinds Governor’s Hall from the City of Cambridge as a way to continue their normal operations, and offering the hall to rent for events. The lease agreement is expected to be signed this week.
The ability to continue with their normal operations is also expected to help offset the incredible cost of restoring the Post 91 building, according to Anderson. He said he does not, however, expect rental events in Governor’s Hall to provide a stream of income that will bring them closer to the $1.7 million goal.
The best way to suppor t Post 91 in this difficult time is to become a member, Anderson said.
“You’ve probably heard me quoted before as saying that it’s the best $35 you can spend with all the activities we do,” said Anderson.
In addition to the activities and benefits offered to members, Post 91 uses their resources to give back to the community. Donations of varying amounts are made to fire companies, Little League teams, churches, the VA clinic, and many more nonprofits locally and outside of Dorchester County.
Those eligible for membership with the American Legion are active or honorably discharged veterans, and the children and grandchildren of those veterans who are members of the American Legion. Visit the Post 91 website www.alpost91md.org for more information about membership.
Work continues to rebuild the fire-damaged American Legion Post 91 building after a fire in May 2016.