Elgin VFW Post selling building with no home in sight
Elgin VFW Post 1307 will be homeless, at least for a while, after its building on Weld Road is sold later this month, much faster than anticipated.
The building at 1601 Weld Road is being bought for $380,000, or $30,000 above asking price, by Metro Staff Inc., which plans to turn it into office space and move its headquarters there from McLean Boulevard in Elgin, Post Quartermaster Scott Webb said Saturday.
"It turned out there was a little bit of a bidding war, because multiple people were interested," he said.
The membership of the post, faced with financial difficulties, voted in January to list the building for sale. Things moved really fast, Post Commander Art Buckheister said. Metro Staff didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Post members held a "last hurrah" party Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, they were clearing out stuff and finding old items like a Bible donated in 1947 by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Sons of VFW, the latter a group that doesn't exist anymore. While some things are being thrown out, much of the furniture has been sold and the post's 1963 Dodge M37 military truck will be sold, too, Buckheister said.
The plan is to find a suitable storefront to move into, post officials said. The first three options post officials came up with -- moving into storefront spaces on Airport Road or McLean Boulevard, or sharing space with American Legion Elgin Post 57 -- all were turned down by members.
"We'll keep looking," Buckheister said.
Meanwhile, meetings will take place at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home in Elgin, whose owners Dan and Joy Symonds are, respectively, a post and post auxiliary member.
Post Junior Vice President Shirldine Nohl said this is a chance to make a new home for the post.
"I don't look at this as a loss," she said. "I look at it as a new beginning,"
But her daughter, 22-year-old Michelle Mears, said she felt sad. The building holds lots of memories for her, including her first waitressing job -- paid in tips -- when she was in high school.
The decision to sell was difficult, but the only sensible choice, Webb and Buckheister said. The post wasn't making enough money to pay for daily operations, and there were no funds for needed repairs, they said.
A few who disagreed tried to fundraise, with minimal results. Some are so disappointed that they are staying away altogether, Webb said.
The building on Weld Road has been home to the 1929-era post since the 1980s, and an addition was built around 2009.
But shortly after, the yearslong reconstruction of nearby Route 20 and McLean Boulevard negatively affected attendance, along with declining membership.