Hilliard American Legion Memorial Post 614 has been without a brick-and-mortar home since the sale of its Lattimer Street post in 2012, but it is poised to move into a city-owned, 19th-century farmhouse on Avery Road south of Davidson Road.

Hilliard American Legion Memorial Post 614 has been without a brick-and-mortar home since the sale of its Lattimer Street post in 2012, but it is poised to move into a city-owned, 19th-century farmhouse on Avery Road south of Davidson Road.

Hilliard leaders plan to lease the 1,900-square-foot house at 4579 Avery Road to the American Legion for $1 a year.

In turn, the Legion will make infrastructure improvements to the structure, including work necessary to make it complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Tim Shigley, commander of Post 614.

Hilliard City Council is expected to approve a resolution authorizing the lease agreement Nov. 14. It would be effective Jan. 1. The five-year lease also would have an option for one five-year extension.

The 10-year window would afford the Legion the ability to assess its membership at the end of the lease agreement, Shigley said.

"If we continue to reduce in our membership, we will likely become a 'paper post,' meeting at the fire station or other places as needed," Shigley said.

However, if membership increases, the Legion could look at purchasing a larger facility, he said.

The Legion has 257 members and about 75 percent have renewed their memberships for next year, along with about 125 ladies' auxiliary members and 35 members of the Sons of the American Legion, Shigley said.

The numbers are a fraction of the post's membership a decade ago, he said.

The post had enough members for a base the size of the Lattimer Street building, which was large enough to rent as a banquet facility. The building also had a canteen, a kitchen and a liquor license, Shigley said.

The maintenance and property-tax costs for the Lattimer Street post were too great to sustain and the building was sold, he said. The building is used as a day care center.

The Legion first explored using the Hilliard Civic and Cultural Arts Center that opened in September on Center Street in Old Hilliard.

But its opening was delayed because of rebidding requirements and the Legion began to reconsider whether it would even be a good fit.

"I sat down with (Hilliard) Mayor (Don Schonahardt) and (public-services director) Butch (Seidle) and told him we have an aging group and didn't think we had the manpower or the finances (to occupy it)," Shigley said.

The city made a counteroffer to lease the building to the American Legion, he said.

"The house on Avery Road seemed to meet the Legion's current needs and we believed that the lease arrangement proposed was mutually beneficial. This is but another example of how the city of Hilliard works to partner with other governmental and nonprofit organizations to benefit the entire community," Schonhardt said.

"We think it is a win-win. The Legion gets the home it was looking for and the city gets needed work done to it," Shigley said.

The city acquired the house as part of a development agreement in 2014 with F2 to build 176 multifamily residences on property purchased from Glenmont, a Christian Science nursing home at 4599 Avery Road.

"We think it's a good use. The mayor was committed to finding a good home (for the American Legion) and we recommend approval of this lease," Seidle told members of the city-planning, projects and services committee Nov. 7.

The brick house had been used to quarter nurses working at Glenmont, Seidle said.

"It's in reasonably good shape but needs some cosmetic work. It's a good opportunity to put it to a good public use," Seidle said.

Councilman Al Iosue, chairman of the committee, said council members were pleased to help the Legion.

"It will be a benefit to the community," he said.

Shigley said the Legion would begin refocusing as a service organization.

"We haven't had that footprint for the past few years and we want to be visible in the community as a source of support for our veterans," he said.

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