CHAMPLAIN - On Oct. 5, the decision was made by American Legion Post 767 members to sell their building, which they have owned since 1957.
The reason for putting the building up for sale, according to post commander Alfred Strack, is "strictly financial."
"We have been struggling for years with our finances," Strack said.
Talk of selling the building began about two years ago, but Strack said they were "looking for every reason not to."
Some of the reasons include the multiple organizations who utilize the building, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Meals on Wheels.
The building, located at 127 Elm St., is also the location for bingo, which Strack said is the Legion's main source of income.
"Our bingo [doesn't] quite make it," he said. "We've tried fundraisers and are faced with ... the lack of energetic, active members to put on these fundraisers, so we decided that it was best to give up the building because it takes all of our resources."
Assessed at $130,000, the building is being put on the market by Kavanaugh Realty for $129,000.
"Once the place is sold, then we'll see what our finances are like, then with the cash in hand we'll probably look for a smaller place," Strack explained. "We don't want to disband the Legion. It's a matter of living within our means."
Assistant adjutant Gerald Mayo said he'll be sad to see the building sold.
"I've been here since day one," he explained.
Mayo said he was a member of the post when the building was first purchased.
"We came into this building and it was in kind of sad shape," he recalled. "We rolled up our sleeves and this is what we ended up with."
For many years the building housed special events on a weekly basis.
"It used to be very active with youth dances, teenage dances, and all those kind of things," said Strack. "The auxiliary used to be put on weddings and all kinds of banquets. They were probably booked ... the majority of the weekends."
However, with membership down, continuing to have the same type of events has been difficult.
"Our organization is an organization of more senior people, because the younger people that are coming back from Iraq ... don't have a great deal of interest at this time," Strack said. "They have family issues and education. So, they're busy getting their lives in order and their careers in order. Those are the kinds of people we need, but I can understand why [they aren't active]."
"It's a big disappointment for those who have been active," he added.
Although the building is currently for sale, Strack said the building will continue to be used as-is until a buyer is found.
"We made the decision during our last meeting as well to make a last-ditch effort to keep the building open during the winter months, to keep these programs, and also to make the building more sellable," explained Strack. "Once you close down a building, people don't want to come in sub-zero weather and walk through a building. Some of our members have agreed to assist us in our finances."
Although finances are a major reason for selling the building, Strack said it also has to do with the Legion's purpose.
"We no longer can provide the programs and services that the Legion is really noted for and designed for," he explained. "We used to give scholarships, we had youth programs, we supported youth athletics. Because we can't do that, it takes a great deal away from our purpose. Our purpose right now is maintaining the building and that doesn't seem to be what we're here for."
For more information about the sale of the building, contact Strack at 298-8113 or 593-2758, or call the Legion at 298-4431.