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Veterans honored, hear details of potential sale, location change
The annual VFW Veteran's Day event had no special guest speaker this year because they felt it was better to discuss the sale and location changes being negotiated and address some of the grapevine gossip around it. The sale is being negotiated with unanimous VFW member support, Lindsey Wilson College Board of Trustees have given the go ahead for talks with the VFW new property has been secured for a new VFW location. The Jaycees Adair County Fair will be held in its traditional location next year no matter who owns it. For the Columbiamagazine.com list of all Veterans names, click here. Names are welcome for addition at any time during the year.
By Linda Waggener
Joe Hare welcomed everyone in the packed VFW building and encouraged getting second helpings of the good food and drink provided for the event. Andrew Mitchell, Walmart manager, and his volunteers were paid tribute for leadership and serving to help make the event a very special annual one for Veterans and their families. Mitchell thanked all Veterans for their service plus those who made donations to help as listed in the program. He said, as a Veteran himself, it is one of the events he looks forward most of all each year.
Post colors were presented by the Adair County VFW to begin the program.
Hare announced that there was purposely no special guest speaker this year because they felt it was better to discuss the sale and location changes being negotiated and address some of the grapevine gossip around it. He confirmed that the VFW is talking to Lindsey Wilson College and a sale to the College has been approved at the VFW post "by a one hundred percent unanimous vote".
He said the main reasons the VFW has elected to make the change include liability of hosting the fair and related events, and the potential for a new building and continuous income. The VFW owns 22 acres and it has been leased since the early 80s to the Jaycees fair. The lease money is the VFW's only income and is not guaranteed long-range since either party has the right to cancel the lease with a 90-day notice.
He said, "And as you know, fairs have changed. In the early days a check was written to the fair by the carnival, however, as attendance has gradually gone down, the carnivals now are paid by the fair and when a person pays $10 entry to the fair, right up front half that money goes to the carnival and leaves the community with them at the end of that week.
Hare said, "A businessman recently said to me, 'I hear you all are thinking about selling the fairgrounds and I hope to (blank) you do because the carnival comes to town, leaves with the money and we don't do anything for three weeks.' Yes there are still people who enjoy the fair, especially kids and I hope that your county fair finds a place and can continue it, but we [VFW] want out from under the liability.
Hare continued, "We have the potential to get in a brand new building with less operating expenses and still be very close to town. Our income will double what we are getting now and will be adjusted every five years according to inflation for as long as there is a VFW post here. That secures our post as long as we have enough veterans to keep this charter post going.
"This is why we had a unanimous vote to sell, and it is why we are in negotiations. That additional income will allow us to have more activities and do more for the community. We are not getting a lump sum, we're getting a new building and we get paid once a year. We will still be able to have our Memorial Day and Veterans Day services, hopefully bigger and better. At the same time it will be a plus for the community. The new property and building will be deeded to the VFW and it will operate similarly to this one as a place where people can meet for community events. The monument will be preserved and moved to the new location."
The timeline looks to be this summer for everything to be finalized. Hare said he hopes a year from today to have this event in the new building.
Ronnie Holt then took the podium to give details of the new building. He said the land that is proposed is on Greenhills Road. He gave directions from the turn off Fairgrounds Street onto Green Hills Road, cross the bridge, past the concrete business, on the left, on Mullenix Drive, the 2 acre lot is the new proposed location.
The proposed new building estimation is a 140' x 40' in size and would be "much more modern with good kitchen facilities, better heat and air, parking -- overall a better facility for Veterans and a help to the whole community."
Questions are welcome at any time.
The Adair County Fair Board has options. They are exploring land acquisition grants now according to County Judge Executive Mike Stephens who said, all is positive, this is growth for the community, for the VFW, the Adair County Fair and Lindsey Wilson.
There was no mention of the acre within the VFW grounds owned by the City of Columbia containing playground equipment, ball courts and the closed pool. There has been mention among city council members related to the sale that it would be good for the playground and sports equipment to be moved to Blair Park (former Christian Life Center) for needed public use improvements there.
This story was posted on 2015-11-11 12:19:49
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