News: Neillsville --Legion (11 Feb. 2005)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
----Source:Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Fri, Feb 11, 2005
Neillsville Legion seeks funds for building
By Matt Ollwerther; Marshfield News-Herald
The Neillsville American Legion is raising money to move into a new, larger building that will be able to host larger crowds and provide more community functions.
The Legion's current building, two stories tall, is difficult for handicapped people and its parking lot, kitchen and bathrooms are too small for larger gatherings, officials said. The building was finished in the mid-1940s and eventually will be sold.
A new, one-level building will double its predecessor's space, provide seating for 350 to 400 people, have a dance floor, larger bathrooms and kitchen catering to community crowds and be more handicapped-accessible, said Howard Mathis, commander of the Neillsville Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter. "By donating to this new hall, they're donating to the community and people they already know," said DeWayne Seelow, co-chairman of the Building Committee. Most people in Clark County have been affected by the Legion in some way, he added.
The building is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million, Seelow said, of which about $75,000 - roughly 10 percent - already has been collected.
Rick Thoma, co-chairman of the building committee and commander of the legion post, said the building might receive funding from the Marguerite Listeman Foundation.
The foundation initially denied a request for funding, waiting to see if the Legion was serious about the new building, he said. "Now we're $80,000 serious," Thoma said. "That right there is going to give us a big shot in the arm." A typical week usually brings about $2,000 in donations, but this week already has brought nearly $10,000, he said.
The group hopes to break ground on the building around June, Seelow said. The building will be located on donated acres in the Boon subdivision, near the Super 8 Motel on the south side of town.
Seelow said the location is ideal for such a community-based center. Near Highway 10, it will provide a meeting place for reunions and weddings while being close to recreational activities, such as all-terrain vehicle trails and golfing.
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