HUNTLEY – American Legion Post 673 of Huntley will be expanding its building in hopes of attracting a younger crowd.
The addition will be located along the east side of the building, 11712 Coral St., and will expand the bar area, reconfigure bathrooms and provide a handicap-accessible ramp for the rear parking lot.
Post Cmdr. Michael Stojak said that to draw younger veterans in, the building from the 1950s will need to be revamped.
“Veterans these days were ill-prepared for what they had to deal with overseas, and when they get home, many don’t know there are other people who understand what they experienced,” Stojak said. “I hope they can come here, talk with older veterans and realize they are not alone.”
The Huntley Village Board approved a site plan Thursday for a new addition that will add about 722 square feet to the facility and enclose a future honor garden with a brick wall. The bathrooms also will become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, something Stojak said is important for the accessibility of all veterans.
Trustees also approved a $20,000 grant to the Legion – $10,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018 – for exterior improvements to its building through the village’s facade improvement program.
The total cost of the addition and brick wall is estimated at $450,000, according to village documents. The brick wall will be short enough so people sitting in the honor garden can see parades and town performances, Stojak said.
The honor garden will sit next to the incoming BBQ King Smokehouse restaurant. The design for the honor garden has yet to be determined, Stojak said. The west wall of the building will be painted and feature military logos.
The Legion has about 300 members, Stojak said, and he hopes the expansion will help the longevity of the program.
Construction is set to begin in October and be completed by the spring, Stojak said.
The village budgeted $90,000 for facade improvements in fiscal 2017, and about $28,000 has been used so far, according to village documents.