DIGBY, N.S. -
The Royal Canadian Legion Digby Branch # 20 has undergone renovations to help serve the community better.
The hope is that the renovations help the Legion become a more popular place for people and other organizations to host celebrations and events.
“We’re bringing everything up to where it should be,” said incoming Legion president Donna Flaherty.
The community hall, located upstairs, has been painted and now features new tile flooring.
“The tiles had all been cracked and chipped and we had safety concerns…It was starting to look dingy and we wanted to upgrade everything.”
The upstairs bathroom is also in the process of receiving upgrades to make it wheelchair accessible.
“We wanted to make it so everybody could use the hall and be comfortable,” she said.
The hall renovations cost $14,000 and the bathroom upgrades are expected to total $16,000. Flaherty said the Legion received a government grant of $9,000 to fix the bathroom. The rest of the money came from Legion fundraisers.
“We did a ticket draw for a quilt, we do fundraisers throughout the year, we also did Chase the Ace,” she said.
The Legion is celebrating 90 years in Digby. The building where the Legion now calls home is located at 92 Mount Street and was constructed in the late 50’s or early 60’s, according to Flaherty.
She said after the hall and bathroom upgrades are done, there are plenty of other facelifts required in the building.
“The kitchen has to be overhauled so that’s another one on the list. We have to replace the roof – it’s leaking and we had an emergency patch-up on it. So the roof is the next thing on the list.”
Flaherty said the downstairs section of the Legion, which houses the bar and lounge, also needs upgrades.
“There’s work that needs to be done downstairs as well so we’re just checking off our list and whatever has to be done first, is going to be done first and then go down the list and as we can afford it, we do it.”
Flaherty said the facility is a focal point in the community for people to meet and to get together for events. For example, she said the Legion hosts a jam fest every second Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m., and this event is quite popular.
“We have people that sit in our parking lot starting at 4 o’clock so they can get their seats,” she said. “Local musicians get together and everybody’s welcome and there’s no cover charge. We supply sandwiches, cake and hotdogs at half time and everybody just enjoys themselves…We can have up to 150 people on a Tuesday night. It’s community and everybody getting together and enjoying a nice night out.”
Flaherty said the Legion has between 150 and 175 members. She said the non-profit organization has been an important part of the community and Legion officials want to continue that tradition.
“The Legion should be a major part of the community and that’s what we’re focusing on it being a part of the community, and helping out other groups.”
Meanwhile, Sheri MacNeil, project coordinator for the Legion, said she is working on a strategy to encourage new members and volunteers.
“I am looking for resources as I develop a marketing and advertising strategy for the Legion,” she said in an email. “I am also attempting to develop some kind of volunteer and membership program to draw more people to the Legion. Like many non-profits, the Legion heavily relies on volunteers and members to make their services possible.”
For more information about the Digby Legion, find them on Facebook.