Post 99’s home is one of the most historic buildings standing in Kearny. The main part of the building, fronting Belgrove Drive, dates back to 1887 when it was originally used as the stable for the New Jersey Home for Disabled Soldiers & Sailors. It is two stories and houses the main hall on the first floor and several offices and storage rooms on the second floor. It houses Kearny VOICE and the Veterans Closet program.
The secondary part of the building is an addition in the rear of the main structure that was completed by Post 99 in 1941 after their acquisition of the building. It is a single story and houses the Bar/Lounge and a kitchen. It’s basement contains storage space and mechanical rooms.
Over the years, the building has generally been maintained well although often on an as-needed or emergency basis. With the assistance of Kearny Elks Lodge 1050, the Hall was partially refurbished in 2021. Several areas of the building are still in need of repairs and upgrades to ensure that the American Legion can continue to assist and serve Veterans, Active Duty Military, and their families.
In 2022, Post 99 members determined that a major fundraising effort would be necessary to bring the building into a condition that would best serve new generations of Veterans. No longer would 1970s era faux wood paneling and mismatched linoleum flooring suit the needs of the members, guests, and community groups who use the facilities regularly.
Raising the Funds
While the Post is planning many fundraising programs to raise the significant amount of money needed, the first of these is a Challenge Coin sale. This is the first step in what will be at least a year-long campaign to raise all of the funds needed.
- Refurbish men’s and women’s restrooms
- Update WiFi throughout the building
- Replace subfloor in bar office/storage room
- Repair and paint walls in the Main Hall
- New air conditioning system for Main Hall
- Repair roof leaks on addition
Work to be done
Among the items to be done are some necessary repairs, such as:
- Replacement of damaged potions of subfloor in bar/lounge
- Replace bar/lounge flooring
- Replace under bar sinks, refrigeration, and storage
- Replace/repair electrical outlets and properly determine appropriate circuits to avoid overloads
- Replace all lighting fixtures with energy efficient LED lighting
- Convert current heating system to zoned system for energy efficiency
- Additional CCTV system for the bar/lounge area
Additionally, some aesthetic improvements need to be made:
- Build new back bar to be useful for regular business
- Replace Main Hall lower wall paneling with wainscoting
- Replace all paneling in bar/lounge
- Replace bar/lounge furniture
- Build stage/performance area in bar/lounge
- Convert some basement spaces into usable space for programs office space, a video conference room, and climate controlled space for the storage of historic items owned by Post 99