Red Deer Legion will be closing for renovations on June 30 as it downsizes to a smaller space in the building it once owned on the corner of Bremner Avenue and Molly Bannister Drive.
Over the past two years, the Legion has been working on selling its 30,000 square-foot building and property at 2810 Bremner Ave, but will still lease about one-third of the building.
“It’s been a long, long journey for us. Papers were signed for the sale Friday. Possession won’t be until Aug. 15. We still have a lot of work to do to clear out the areas we’re not going to occupy,” said legion president Bev Hanes Tuesday.
In late May, Legion members approved a 10-year lease.
Hanes said closing for July and August will allow renovations to be done quicker to hopefully reopen by mid-September.
When the Legion moved into the building in 1981, it had more than 4,500 members. Membership now sits at about 1,326.
“Our membership is aging. At one point here a while ago we had 50 veterans over 90. Even at the age of 80, you don’t get them coming in that often.”
She said the Legion has been losing money and a smaller footprint will reduce costs.
“Hopefully once everything gets back up we can have a little more emphasis on things that we can do for veterans in the community.”
The smaller Legion space will include the canteen, games room and kitchen.
She said renovations will open up the space and larger windows will bring in more light which may help to attract younger members.
A lot of groups consistently use the Legion to hold events, and many regulars just like to hang out, read the newspaper, or visit with each other, Hanes said.
The door to the Legion will be moved to the north side of the building by the parking lot.
Recently, the Legion was able to find new homes for most of its historical and military collection. It will hold a garage sale Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to sell off its remaining miscellaneous items.