VFW post addition project underway

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BENNINGTON — The home of the local VFW is getting a makeover.

The VFW Post 1332 building, located at 137 North St., is undergoing a project that will expand the amount of space it has for events, according to Post Commander Norman LeBlanc. The target completion date is July 1.

"We're happy we're expanding," LeBlanc said on Wednesday. "Hopefully, it means we can do even more."

The local VFW hosts many events throughout the year and LeBlanc said many times, the post donates the event space free to community members and local organizations. He estimated about 100 people can fit in the space.

"But with those 100 people, we're completely crowded," he said. "People are jammed in."

Post officers looked to ways to expand and settled on an addition. LeBlanc said they've worked with Geoff Metcalfe, an architect at Keefe & Wesner Architects in North Bennington, to come up with the plans.

"Geoff spent a lot of time with us, talking about our needs and what we wanted to see," he said.

The project includes a 12-foot addition to the west side of the existing building that will create additional bar space. It also calls for the relocation and replacement of a cooler that is at least 30-years-old, with one that's more energy efficient.

Another new addition will be a porch out front that LeBlanc said would be an attractive addition to the downtown.

"We want people to come to town and stop here," he said.

The project's target cost was about $100,000 and was funded through its membership. LeBlanc estimated the combined membership is about 800, which includes the VFW and separate organizations of the auxiliary and friends groups.

LeBlanc said they hopes to remain open as many days as possible during construction.

"The business side of things is a small part of what the organization does," he said. "We're totally committed to investing back into the community."

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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