VFW moves ahead on $100K remodel

Published 10:22am Thursday, March 27, 2014

For the first time in almost 40 years, Austin’s Veterans of Foreign Wars service club may remodel its home.

VFW Post 1216 members voted Wednesday night to move ahead on a $90,000 to $100,000 remodel of the club’s hall at 300 Fourth Ave. NE.

“It’s encouraging,” Commander Scott Wiechmann said.

However, the project is still pending approval by the Austin Port Authority, which will discuss the issue at its April meeting.

The project would add a new facade and new front entrance to the north, along with new windows and new lighting. A new handicapped-accessible entrance would be built on the east side, along with new siding on the east and south sides of the building. There would be minor brick work on the west side.

If approved, the Austin Main Street Project would fund a significant portion of the project.

“We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if we weren’t able to get the financing,” Wiechmann said of the deal with the Austin Main Street Project.

The rest would be covered by the VFW. Wiechmann does not anticipate changes to member fees and the project would use little to no VFW reserve funds or gambling dollars. Club leaders don’t want to deplete gambling dollars, as that is used for charitable endeavors. Wiechmann said the VFW club’s finances are the strongest they’ve been in several years.

The remodel would include some interior cosmetic work to ceiling panels, flooring and some paint. The VFW was last remodeled in 1973.

The VFW has 500 members, and the ladies and men auxiliaries have 150 members. Only the VFW members were eligible to vote.

To Wiechmann, Wednesday’s vote, which was 21-4 in favor of the remodel, was a sign the members believe in the VFW.

“It takes everybody to do something like this,” he said.

The VFW is choosing between three local contractors on the project. Work could start in June, if not sooner, with a grand re-opening and community event planned for later this summer, likely with a grill out.

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