EASTON — Blake-Blackston American Legion Post 77 will begin renovating and expanding its facility in Easton next year after it won town approval for a $250,000 state grant on Oct. 5.
The local veterans organization sought a recommendation from the town council for a Community Legacy Program grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. With the blessing, Post 77 is one step closer to securing the rest of the funds needed for the renovation project.
Councilman Elmer Davis voiced strong approval for the project.
“My father died in Vietnam,” he said. “I’m just so glad that you’re committed to enhancing the quality of life in the community. I support you 110%.”
Walter Black, the judge advocate and fundraising committee chairman for the post, said the building at 102 Glenwood Avenue was “built in 1900” and is outdated, but it’s still an important center in the community.
“This is a primary meeting place where veterans meet for camaraderie,” Black said. “It is a hub for residents to receive support.”
The local American Legion post drafted the renovation plan first in 2018 and won approval for a similar grant in 2019.
The first phase of renovation will reconfigure the kitchen area, a meeting room and a bathroom facility, while phase two will focus on the canteen room and a second set of bathroom facilities.
The total cost of the project is $850,000, and after securing this final grant, construction is slated to begin in early 2021.
The building will serve the community significantly, Post Commander George Jenkins said.
“We’ll be able to have banquets and wedding parties,” he said. “We’re hoping that one day our young veterans will be able to come in” and appreciate it.