Work began at the Fernie Legion over the weekend to remove the awning from the front of the building.

Work began at the Fernie Legion over the weekend to remove the awning from the front of the building.

Fernie Legion undergoes renovations

On Apr. 9 the Fernie Legion removed the awning from their main entrance.

On Apr. 9 the Fernie Legion removed the awning from their main entrance. The awning was very weathered and would have been very costly to replace said the Legion’s President, Jennifer Cronin.

“The awning was heavily worn and weather beaten, and was an eyesore. We were very fortunate that Terry Polacik brought over his flat deck trailer, as well as a rubber tire backloader, and he together with Oscar Nielsen, Randy Polacik, George King, and Doug Koran removed the awning,” she said.

The age of the awning is unknown. But the President estimates it has seen over two and a half decades of sun and snow.

“I am not sure.  I don’t remember a day when it was not there, and I have been her for 25 years,” she said.

Instead of spending an estimated amount of over $13,000 to replace the awning, the Legion has decided to put about $8,000 worth of windows back into the building’s lounge. The Legion is currently fundraising for the windows.

“At this time the Legion is fundraising to put windows back into the lounge portion of the building. From the outside of the building, you can see where the windows once were, but not even the oldest patron can remember the windows,” she said. “Why they were sealed is a mystery. We would like to have the windows again to let in the light and be more welcoming. Gone are the days when you had to be a member to come to the Legion, and we would like everyone to know that.”

The awning’s removal acted as the first fundraiser for the windows, with the Legion having hot dogs and hamburgers available by donation.

“We have just only started the fundraising, with our first barbeque this past Saturday,” she said. Cronin also went on to thank the groups who helped make the barbeque a success, “The Legion Ladies Auxiliary made salads, and Save-On-Foods donated the burgers, hotdogs and buns.”

The barbecues will be a regular occurrence according to the Legion’s President.

“We will be having monthly barbeques and some other events which we will share in our weekly ad in The Free Press,” she said.

The Legion hosts many events; upcoming events will range from monthly dinners to a dart tournament.

“Ladies Auxiliary will be having their monthly dinner on April 16. There is a dart tournament on April 30, a big horseshoe tournament scheduled for May 28. Together with Not Just Pizza we will be sponsoring a ball team, and it is our hope that once the windows are in, that we will have a patio in our parking lot,” she said.

Cronin believes that removing the awning was the first step to making the Legion a more accessible and inviting place.

Combined with scheduled events and activities the Legion hopes to create a community space where anyone can come and enjoy themselves.

“We will be scheduling and offering many different things in an effort to bring people into the Branch.  As we are a not-for-profit organization, all of the money we raise goes to support our veterans, as well as other groups and individuals,” she said. “We need to bring in more people to visit and play darts, or pool, or enjoy our daily happy hour or Saturday meat draws. Only in this way will we be able to keep our doors open.  In order to do this, we must make the Legion more open and welcoming.  Removing the awning was the first step in this process.”