The American Legion post in a central Wisconsin community will lose their new building unless they get help. Three representatives from the Legion met with Neillsville’s Economic Development Commission Tuesday night, and spelled out the grim details. The facility opened in 2007. Construction costs skyrocketed to $1.3-million, well above initial estimates.
Wayne Short, who’s with the Legion now, but wasn’t involved when the facility was constructed, told the Commission the organization has $580,000 in bank debt and can’t make their monthly payments.
The Legion has “tapped” their members for more donations, tried to increase the number of special events and cut costs, but Short said it’s obvious they won’t be able to “earn their way” out their hole. “Without an investment by a partner, or a longterm interest-only kind of program, it’s just not going to work. I’m sure by the end of the year, we’re going to be without a bank and won’t be able to continue operations,” he said. One option would be for the city to get involved, possibly by purchasing the loan from the bank and receiving interest-only payments from the Legion. If the city doesn’t help, the Legion may try to start a member-investor group to buy the facility. If those options fail, they might lose the building. The Commission took no action. Another meeting was set for December 1st.
Paul Knoff, WCCN