Our new Legion year began on a sad note, Mrs. Merrill Banta, Unit 80, passed away in August. She had been a loyal worker at our annual carnivals for many years, The Banta family, including their daughter Shirley(Wrenn) have faithfully volunteered at carnivals, Memorial Day and almost every annual event.
Now on to the new Legion year with Bill Schenke as commander and Howard Parsons as adjutant. Bill is a sales representative for Edwards Hines Lumber Co. Sr. Vice , Jim Newell reported 216 "Early Birds", in the beginning of the new year.Hubbard came up with the idea for a commemorative stamp to honor the American Legion's 40th anniversary. He was authorized to research this and report back at the next meeting.
Tony Morello reported that Mr. Vollum had called and was still interested in the Ogden Avenue property. He was given a survey of the property two months ago and had his engineers study the matter. Tony also suggested that the Post make every effort toward favorable action on the sewer referendum in November. The Post will benefit for it as it is believed we will be able to tap into the new sewer.
As we get to November, plans for Armistice Day,Christmas activities and the Oratorical Contest are in the plans. At the November Board meeting another offer for the Ogden property was discussed. The Post declined an offer for $120,000.00 for 20 acres or $90,000.00 for the front 10 acres. McCollum mentioned that Mr. Schrieger is interested in the property. He could pay $60,000.00 down and would like the Legion to take back a mortgage on the property. Pros and cons were discussed. Morello suggested as an alternative, retaining an investment firm and arranging a lease-back deal whereby the Post would retain title to the property and collect rent on it. It was moved by Wintrup that a committee of five be appointed to investigate the lease-back and that no deal be made until a report was received. The motion was second by Newell and carried. The committee members are, Morello, B. Blaida, G. McCollum, Newell and Parson.
In December normal business was conducted, Children's Christmas Party, Gifts for Yanks, baskets for the needy etc. Under old business, Past Commander Hubbard moved that the Post hold the price of $165,000.00 for the Ogden frontage and adjoining 20 acres. Past Commander Lanagan reported a cost of $108.00 for the Korean War and World War Two Plaque. Harkness suggested the plaque be dedicated at Past Commander's Night and that Mayor Graves be invited. Under For The Good of The Legion, the Banta property of 8.3 acres is valued at $4500.00 for tax purposes and there is an inheritance tax of $450.00 due on the property. The building has been condemned and is worthless and Kenitz was given authority to permit an interested party to tear it down in exchange for any good lumber.
Board Meeting December 18,1957:
Mr Schrager is still interested in the Ogden property and asked for a dinner meeting with Post representatives. Ok'd. Gifts for Yanks took in $274.44 and $111.00 was spent on 12 new jackets and 5 corduroy shirts which have been sent to our disabled veterans. Blaida reported there are two more persons interested in the Ogden property. Motion by Newell, second by Pechinsky to rent the northern part of the Ogden property to William Gross for $100.00 a year with the understanding that he may have to vacate if it is sold. This was carried.
Under New Business it was brought up that next year our charter members will have 40 years with the Legion and we should plan a party for them. As the American Legion will be 40 years old in 1959 a committee was formed plans started.
At the January Board meeting it was decided that no decision would be made on the Ogden property until March 1,1958. There are no records of the February meeting at this time.
At the February Board meeting a request was made to the Post by the Cass Community Saddle Club to have a horse show in August or September. It was agreed that if there was no conflict with our fall festival that the property be rented for $50.00 for the horse show.
In March it was business as usual, plans for the annual carnival and 4th of July activities are almost complete. This year a new 1958 Chevy Bel Aire will be raffled. Another offer for part of the Ogden property was received;$135,000 for the front 10 acres. With various offers coming in for this property a committee was formed to review all offers.
For the first time a jukebox is discussed and $35.00 is set aside for the purchase of one and Tony Morello is put in charge of finding one. Newell stated that there are now 30 new members to be initiated so far.
At the March Board Meeting Visitors Rutz and Schrager were making requests on the Ogden Property. Schrager requested that we hold the property for three or four months to permit him to develop plans and surveys. As evidence of his good faith he would be spending five to eight thousand dollars on preliminaries such as core boring and site planning. He would make a definite decision by the end of the four month period. He feels there is 90% chance to make the deal. He is doing a lot of development Jewel Stores. He also agreed on the suggestion by Kenitz, to assume full cost of brokers fees and annexation costs.
By the end of April, there was still no deal on the Ogden Property. Plans for Memorial Day were in full swing. The Post is now looking for more entries for the 4th of July parade. And now we have an interested party in the inherited Banta Property on Elmore St.
In May all Legion Activities were carried out and the Post received a letter from Mr. Vollum that he was no longer interested in the Ogden Property. Vollum had been representing Kroger Stores. Membership is now at 349 paid members. In June the Post concentrated on the 4th of July activities.
As 1958 came to a close there was no sale of the Ogden or Banta properties. The Post has had a very successful year. This Historian, Lanagan, now has the Post history recorded up to the end of 1958.