Local vets looking to future, not selling American Legion post yet

09/02/2014 12:00 AM

08/30/2014 12:46 PM

American Legion Post 6 isn’t changing quarters anytime soon, Post Commander Lee Heavlin says.

While Post members are considering the 1714 Legion Road property’s future, they won’t talk about it officially or make decide until a Sept. 18 special general membership meeting. The Chapel Hill post has more than 200 members, who live in many communities, Heavlin said.

Members could choose to operate the post as they have since buying the 35-acre property and building an 8,378-square-foot office in 1961. The former post – established in 1919 after World War I – was a log cabin on East Rosemary Street, behind the location of the current CVS Plaza building. The current post property has a tax value of $2.4 million.

Post members also could choose to:

• Spend $500,000 to make upgrades and repairs
• Operate the post without a physical home
• Sell 31 acres and keep four on which to construct a new building
• Sell the property and find a new home

The post offers more than social events and support for veterans, Heavlin said. Members also help with community service activities and fundraising, provide scholarships, support the Boy Scouts, and sponsor other programs for young people.

Heavlin said the post is looking at how it can better serve its members and the community in the years to come. The neighborhood that grew up around the post and the needs of younger members and their families also are changing, he said.

“We’ve got a lot of roots here, but we need foremost to take care of our veterans,” he said.

If post members choose to sell, the town of Chapel Hill has the right to consider the purchase first under an agreement that former Town Manager Cal Horton negotiated in 2005. Under that deal, the town agreed not to designate the American Legion property as a potential school site in its land-use plan.

Town Council members have expressed interest in recent years, however, in seeing the property be used for a community purpose, such as a park, if it were ever sold. Heavlin said they offered land at the post for the town’s new fire station, but the town is using its own land nearby.

Town Manager Roger Stancil said the town heard about the post’s pending discussion, but town staff hasn’t talked with anyone about the property’s future. If the town buys the land, the 2005 agreement does not prevent the schools from using the site for a future school, he said.

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