Red Deer Legion members overwhelming voted to sell their building and property near Bower Place and find a new home for the local legion.
Legion president Bev Hanes said 212 members voted on the move at a special meeting on Monday.
The vote came the same week Red Deer welcomed the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup, the major junior hockey national championship launched originally in 1919 to honour soldiers who died fighting for Canada in the First World War.
“I just want to really, really confirm to people we’re not closing the legion. We’re just relocating to a more appropriate size for our uses and membership,” said legion president Bev Hanes on Thursday. “We just don’t need 30,000 square feet.”
She said about half the size would be sufficient.
Legion executive made the move towards selling the building and three acres of land at 2810 Bremner Ave. because of declining membership combined with a decrease in participation.
The legion has been leasing out about 25 per cent of its space.
Hanes said space was first leased about 15 years ago. The new location, which has not yet been decided, will be just for the legion.
“A lot of our veterans are older and I’m hoping that if we don’t have to spend so much time worrying about getting the building filled and busy that we would have more time to go out and visit our veterans in their own home or senior homes.”
She said the new site will definitely have a lounge and space for its sports programs that include carpet bowling, shuffle board and darts. Interest in the sports will likely grow in the future when the legion finds a new location.
Hanes said the legion is a comfortable place for people to meet where they can sit and relax and just have coffee. And they don’t have to be veterans to join.
“Any Canadian citizen can be a member. If you’re not, we have a book at the front desk, and you just have to sign in.”
The Legion has a canteen that offers meals and drinks, and also runs Molly B’s Lounge, which is open to the public.
The legion building and property are listed for $7,495,000 with Century 21.