— By SALLY SEXTON
Despite a few curve balls thrown by Mother Nature, construction for the new American Legion Post 163 continues to progress, with a concrete foundation and insulated walls already erected.
Legion members and construction crews originally broke ground in September on a plot of land located next to Cartwright Park.
“The post has definitely come along,” Ron Chandler, past Legion commander and chair of the building committee, said. “This week, we finished up the metal on the sides and started working on the roof.
“It’s actually starting to look like a building now, not just a concrete slab.”
Because of rain and snow in the last few months, the timeline for completion has been delayed about three or four weeks, according to Chandler.
“Right now, we’re expecting in early spring to be at a place where we can at least have power and start functioning in the post itself,” he said.
Legion members have been conducting meetings in a temporary building on the property for the last several months.
Along the way, the legion has seen support from the community, as well as the City of Weatherford.
With furniture and other accessories donated, the city has offered to build a fence, separating the legion property from Cartwright Park.
“The neat thing is that our veterans have really become our brothers and families and we’ve really supported each other,” legion president Bill Mallory said. “We’ve got a strong core of officers that have helped unify this vision and push it forward.”
One of the attractions on the outside of the building will be a memorial area, brought over from the old legion location including a time capsule that was discovered from 1994.
“We opened it up and saw that it had all of the history of the post and some papers and photos documenting that history,” Chandler said.
The American Legion began meeting at its old location off Eureka Street in 1933. Originally established in March of 1920, officers would meet at each other’s houses or other locations until they were granted permission to use the Eureka property.
In 1947, the post purchased the building from the family that previously owned it.
“The good thing about this new area is that we have plenty of room to add on if we need to and the land is paid off,” Bret Watson, vice commander, said. “We felt like we were getting squeezed in at the old location.”
Legion officers are in the process of planning a grand opening ceremony, complete with a DVD slide show marking the progress of the post’s progression.