There is nothing like a “for sale” sign in the front yard to get people talking. Some may ask if you are moving into something bigger to accommodate a larger family or if you are leaving town altogether. When the sign has been in the yard for over six months, people are going to eventually create their own ideas and scenarios.
This has been the case for American Legion Post #9. The two-story building that sits near the intersection of Frederica and West 8th Street has been for sale since the summer. Some have speculated that the Legion may be moving to another location, such as the old Ponderosa building in Wesleyan Park Plaza, while others have asked if they will be closing their doors altogether.
“That’s absolutely the furthest thing from the truth,” said Legion manager Allison Wright. “We are not closing. We are not going to leave here unless we find somewhere else to go. We have been interested in several different properties, but we obviously can’t do anything until we find a buyer for our property.”
Charlie Lagadinos, the commander for Post #9, said there are many benefits to the building they currently occupy, including offering two non-smoking areas and being handicapped accessible. Some of the stumbling blocks the Legion has encountered involve lack of convenient parking and being a two-story building that often caters to an older clientele.
“We are just interested in selling this property and moving to a property that is all one level that better suits the needs of our veterans,” Wright said.
Lagadinos also wanted to clarify that not only does the Legion wish to remain open and continue to serve the veterans of the Owensboro community, it is also much more than a bar that “old men” converse around.
He said the building itself hosts family-friendly parties during the holidays where children are welcome and is also available as a meeting space for various organizations. The Legion also supports other veteran organizations in town, traveling organizations that provide counseling to veterans and offers assistance to the spouses and survivors of veterans.
“We are trying to accommodate the people and the members that are active. We try to get out there and advise them with whatever help they need,” Lagadinos said. “But it doesn’t have to be totally all veterans. You can be sons and daughters of veterans.”
He added that if other generations of veterans, particularly those in their 30s and 40s, would become more active members of the Legion, the legacy of caring for our veterans would have a promising future.
“We’ve got to have some younger ones get in there and support the clubs or eventually we won’t have any veteran service organizations,” Lagadinos said.
As for the future of the building at 736 Frederica Street, Lagadinos said they will continue to support local veterans to the best of their abilities, but he said it is a business issue at this point.
“We try to be as supportive of the community as we can and be available,” Lagadinos said. “If we could get the interest of people coming [in] up — we would probably stay there.”