The Elmore American Legion Post 192 takes a big step forward. A real physical movement.
They are moving the site of their Legion Post from downtown Elmore to the old Bogey Bar and Grill at the Minn-Iowa Golf Course.
Legion members voted unanimously last month to make the move. Minn-Iowa Golf Course members also voted to approve the change.
The move has been in the works for a few months, according to Legion Post 192 Commander John Hanevik and Minn-Iowa Golf Club President Jason Lloyd.
“We started renting out the clubhouse about 12 years ago as a private operation,” said Lloyd. “He had lost money for the club. We have had three Bogey Bar operators over the past 12 years.
The bar’s newest operator left at the end of last summer, and Lloyd said the golf course board was trying to decide what to do with the clubhouse when the idea came up to move the post of the Legion.
“It was actually Legion bar manager Kalee Johnson’s idea at first,” Post Commander Hanevik said. “The more we looked at it, the more it looked like a win-win situation.”
“It will work well” he says. “We will continue to manage the golf course itself, and the Legion will manage the clubhouse.”
The Legion takes care of the entire clubhouse – bar, kitchen, restrooms, etc. They are in the process of adding large light panels outside and doing some renovations inside the clubhouse including the floor, restrooms, fridge, freezer and seating for 21 to a different style bar.
“We keep the current bar, which also contains images”, said bar manager Johnson. “But the place needed a facelift. It will also be new for us to have a full kitchen and a full menu.
Hanevik and Lloyd say they expect the operation to go fairly well. If people come to golf, they can register, pay green fees and rent carts at the clubhouse (which will soon become the Legion post).
“We will probably have two cash registers in operation”, said Hanevik. “One for us and one for them.”
The Legion obtains alcohol, tobacco and gambling licenses for the new location. They have to rent the whole building to get the gambling license.
“We will continue to play and we will have more e-tab machines”, says Johnson. “The pool table won’t move, but the darts will and we’ll have another darts machine.”
Hanevik points out that the Legion is able to donate a lot to the community through the charitable games of chance it offers.
There is still a lot of work to be done in the building before the big move can be made.
In addition, everything from the toilets to the kitchen will need to be inspected and certified before they open.
They hope to move into the new location by March 1. An event is scheduled shortly after this date, and the golf season usually begins in March.
Hanevik and Lloyd say a community the size of Elmore is lucky to have both a Legion post and a golf course. Now the two will be combined into one space.
“We see this as an opportunity to grow our membership as well – both in the Legion and on the golf course,” said Hanevik. “We think we’ll be more interested in both.”
The Legion currently has approximately 40 members, 30 of whom are active. Minn-Iowa has about 100 members each year.
Josh Bruellman is the golf course’s greens keeper and does a great job, Lloyd says.
“I think we will also see an increase in people buying green fees,” adds the president of the club. He has been president for some time and explains that he is in his 16th year of a one-year term as president.
As for the Legion, Commander Hanevik says they expect the new location to make the Legion more family-friendly and a good place to hang out for dinner.
“He will always be available for community activities, like class reunions and chamber events,” said Hanevik. “We want it to be a good community space.”
Regarding the current building at Legion Station 192 downtown, Hanevik says the Legion will continue to own it and use it to store things like flags, parade gear and other items belonging to the Legion.
“One of the reasons for moving was our lack of space here,” Hanevik explained. “And we really had no way of making it bigger, even though we had talked about installing a door to an outside patio. Now the new place already has an outdoor patio.
It also has many windows, unlike the current building which has none.
“I want to thank current members, and the community as a whole, for all of their support over the past few years,” said Hanevik. “While we will miss our current building, we look forward to the future of the site.”