Amer­i­can Le­gion asks for com­mu­nity sup­port

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Work con­tin­ues to re­build the fire-dam­aged Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 91 build­ing af­ter a fire in May 2016.

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