INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The American Legion is on the move from their downtown location to Lawrence. Officials say the reason is due to costs and future growth.
They’ve been at their current location for 88 years; the original GI bill was even drafted there.
“We have to look to the future. That building, in some sense, represents the past, it doesn’t represent the future,” said Hugh Dagley, Indiana Department Adjutant.
“Utilities, maintenance it got to be very expensive for us,” said Ken Hylton, Indiana Department Commander.
The downtown space was granted to the organization for free from the state. But they say by moving, they will save $130,000 a year in maintenance costs. They say they will also be able to grow into their location.
“We want to make sure that all the veterans are taken care of, not only the ones in the past, but the ones that are still serving,” said Hylton.
The American Legion is the largest veterans organization in Indiana, as well as the country. It was chartered by Congress in 1919. Indiana’s chapter was established in 1921.
“Generation after generation after generation has come and made the American Legion what it needed to be to meet their needs,” said Dagley.
Their new location is on three acres of land in Fort Harrison State Park on Herbert Lord Road. The park is a former army base.
The move comes as they’ve seen declining revenue due to declining membership.
“By being here, we become part of their community and we hope that translates, and we plan that it translates into growth,” said Dagley.
A dedication celebration is planned at their at their new headquarters Sunday at noon. It’s part of their annual membership turn-in. If you are a veteran, or know one, you are welcome to attend.