The children's Christmas parties at the American Legion in Vienna may get a little bigger come December. Since May 8, Vienna's Post 180 has been busy constructing a second floor to the 1956 building. The additional floor, which will mirror the footprint of the floor below at 5,000 sq. ft., will hold a large banquet hall with a folding petition, several meeting rooms, and a small kitchen.
"We will be able to rent it out for wedding receptions and for any function that will serve the community," said post commander Charles Nackos.
Construction is expected to finish around Sept. 20, with project costs totaling $600,000. The layout of the first floor will remain the same.
The extra space will not only serve Post members better, it will also allow the Post to invite more community members to its Veterans Day and Memorial Day observations.
"It'll allow not only members, but citizens of Vienna, to enjoy our celebrations," said Vienna resident Dan Dellinger, coordinator of the project.
In addition to more meeting space, the second floor will also include display cases featuring Post trophies and awards, as well as some war artifacts. A 'Walk of Honor' ramp leading to the second floor will memorialize veterans with inscribed bricks.
The addition comes at a time when membership to the American Legion continues to grow. What started in 1956 as a 150-member group in Vienna has grown to over 700 members today. Two other organizations which also use the space, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion, have about 150 and 300 members, respectively.
When the post headquarters was first constructed, they had originally planned to have a second floor. They couldn't complete it because of lack of funding, according to Dellinger.
"It's always been in the works," said Dellinger of another floor.