South St. Paul VFW building sold, will close soon

Terry Pieper, senior vice commander of the South St. Paul VFW Post 295, addressed rumors and gave an update on the future of the almost 100-year-old Veterans of Foreign War hall at the Sept. 4 South St. Paul City Council meeting.

A vote on what the future of the hall would be was taken Aug. 29. Pieper said post members held a productive meeting.

“We had a very good discussion on the pros and cons of the proposed offer that was presented to us to buy the building,” he said. Members voted to sell, which required a two-thirds majority.

Pieper said Post 295 is now in the process of putting together a final offer for presentation and inspection. There is no exact closing date for the sale, and he said the hall will remain open. 

“Our plan is to go forward with everything we need to do to have this sale completed,” Pieper said. 

He added the post will put together a committee to find a new location, whether it be leased, rented or bought, until a more permanent location can be found. 

“This is home for us, and with us celebrating our 100th anniversary coming up next year, we want to continue to be part of this community,” he said. 

Before the meeting and vote were held, messages circulated on social media with rumors of the hall closing. Pieper said it was frustrating when word got out after a mailing was sent to members. 

One rumor was the doors of the hall were already closed. Another was the VFW post was broke, “Which we’re not,” said Pieper.

“Our plan is to become a better and stronger organization within the community and to the veterans within this community,” he said.

Council member Tom Seaberg asked if the post is looking for a building that will have a dining aspect, including alcohol, like the current location, or just be a place for members to meet. 

Pieper said those are things the membership will be discussing. He added everyone thinks of the VFW as the bar. 

“A lot of places are changing that image,” he said, adding a post out of Denver, Colorado, made its building into a community center-like place, complete with a veterans’ art show once a month. 

Pieper said more posts are evolving from the traditional bar atmosphere with “the old guys,” and becoming like storefront community centers. 

 

— Hannah Burlingame

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