Finally, a facelift is underway for the American Legion building, at the corner of Swarthmore and La Cruz.
Wielding sledgehammers to start the demolition of the 1965 interior of the building were Post Commander Jim Cragg, Auxiliary President Sue Pascoe and Sons of the American Legion President Richard Klein.
Minor cosmetics were done to the building in the early 2000s, as well as a kitchen renovation. But the interior of the post had been lost in time, complete with a disco ball.
The newly designed interior will feature an up-to-date lounge area, meeting space and improved ADA access for members to enjoy. A ramp will be built from the front door to the meeting area, so that those in wheelchairs will no longer have to go to the rear of the building to enter. Bathrooms will be upgraded to ADA standards.
“Our goal is to raise our image in the community with a facility that feels inviting for all community members who can come and take advantage of classes and recreational events,” Cragg said. “We want a Legion Post that our members will be proud of when inviting in their friends and families. While some events will be for Legion members only, there will be lots of events that are open to the community.”
Pascoe added, “The Legion was founded by town leaders in 1928, and we hope that this facility can once more be the heart of the community as a gathering place and the site of many activities.”
Initially the renovation was supposed to start in the fall, but obtaining building permits and working with the remediation, pushed back the 24-week construction. But, if all goes as planned, the building will be ready for meetings this September.
Lighting will be replaced with LED to make the building more environmentally friendly, and the exterior will also receive a face lift. The plans received approval from the Palisades Design Review Board last fall.
Ben Wiser, the project manager for Howard Building Corporation (HBC), is tasked with the almost $2 million remodel.
The Legion family, Post 283, the auxiliary and Sons, is one of the largest philanthropic nonprofit organizations in Pacific Palisades, supporting food drives, homeless organizations, schools and scholarships for youth.
Anyone needing to reach someone at Post 283 can call (310) 454-0527. The three officers — Kevin Niles (adjutant), Larry Kirven and Deloris Artis (assistants) — have relocated to a small temporary office in the Chase Building (Suite 219).