Last call for Legion Post 92
As 2018 came to a close, so did the American Legion Post 92’s tenure downtown.
The post closed the doors at its 315 First Ave. NW location just after ringing in the new year.
“It’s a mixed reaction right now,” said Tony Loecher, Post 92 commander. Some members are sad to see the old location shut down and move to the former Kings Crossing Bar & Grill at 915 21st Ave. SE.
“Change is very difficult for some people,” said Steven Leqve, post board member. “As time moves on, people will come around.”
The new location offers outdoor patio space and volleyball courts and is near recreational fields. Loecher said it will help the post become more of a family draw. It also gives the post members a chance to be more directly involved in families and youth sports they support as part of the post’s mission as a civic organization.
“I like the idea you can become a neighborhood spot there,” he said.
Evelyn Lyke, whose late husband, William, was a six-time post commander, said seeing the spot go is bitter sweet. She took photos of the new location before heading to the downtown spot for one last good bye Monday. As a 15-time president of the Legion Auxiliary, she teamed with her husband to help the Legion move to its current spot.
However, it’s not the building that makes the service organization, she said.
“It’s an easy place to come to,” she said. “The people are always friendly.”
The people are key to whatever success the new location brings, said member Phil Haskin.
“The clientele and the atmosphere are the two biggest things,” Haskin said. “It’s nice people in here — all the people in here give you a nice, warm greeting.”
The new post location is slated to open in early March, Loecher said. That’s if things go as planned, which hasn’t been the case so far in renovating the new space. It was originally set to open before the current location closed. The three-month gap has some members concerned.
“It’s hard telling where people will go in the interim,” Haskin said.
“It will be missed,” said post member Matt O’Neill.
However, for the last night, the mood was celebratory rather than somber as people rang in the new year and said good bye to the old post. Haskin was joined by long-time friend Paul Behan, who was visiting from Ireland.
“More people know him here than me,” Haskin said.
O’Neill tossed Behan a Post 92 hat as a souvenir to take back to Ireland. Behan reciprocated with a shot of Jameson whiskey.
“This will get me in trouble,” O’Neill said.
“We like trouble,” Behan replied.
Civic Center Hotel JV LLC of Provo paid $2.85 million for the post building. EKN Development Group of Newport Beach, Calif., is moving ahead with plans to building a nine-story, 175-room extended-stay hotel on the small downtown site.