Local legionnaires got a first-look at the brand new banquet hall of the Glenwood American Legion Tuesday night during a special grand opening ceremony. For two months the renovations were under wraps, concealed behind a ghostly wall of construction sheeting. Now, the space is updated and upgraded, launched into the 21st century, open for veterans and residents to use.
The antiquated collage of neutral tones that once shrouded the banquet hall has been transformed with a fresh coat of paint and then some. And the upgrades, according to house chairman Ken Kraft, are long overdue. “Everything in that room [was] from 1992,” he said, “and we thought if we could spruce up the place, we could get some new blood in to keep the place going.”
The legion’s board of directors and commander began preliminary discussions last fall, searching for a solution to increase membership numbers and community participation at the post. Kraft explained that the cost to maintain the building is expensive, and that the legion relies on hall rentals — for parties, meetings, ceremonies, etc. — to stay afloat. The hope is that the renovated space would encourage a greater variety of rentals and thus increase revenue. Bill Manfredonia, who spearheaded the renovations, said a main objective of the project was to equip the space so it could also be used as a conference center.
“We’re hoping to pick up more business-type rentals,” Manfredonia said, “so we added a 175-inch screen with an overhead projector to be used for events as well as sales and corporate meetings.”
Manfredonia recruited nearly 20 legion members to clear out the hall to make way for the $12,000 renovation. The pinkish peach wallpaper was removed, and the walls were repainted a simple, two-tone gray. The old carpeting was replaced, and a new, 10-foot-long strip of tile was installed, which will be used for the buffet setups “to keep the carpet clean,” he said.
In addition to the screen projector, other upgrades include a refurbished dance floor, color-changing LED lighting, re-frosted windows, a granite bar-top — donated by a local business — new interior signage for the coat and bathrooms and Wi-Fi in the main ballroom.
Manfredonia commended outside vendors for contributing to the renovations, and also thanked his fellow legionnaires. Last Saturday members headed to the legion to do some spring cleaning in the building, specifically in the new hall. “Even the senior members came down to wipe the windows,” he said. “It’s nice to have the whole legion come together and do something like this, and hopefully it brings members in because that’s what we need.”
Legion member Carl Ring, of Glen Head, said the renovated space would be able to be used more frequently for community purposes. “It seems like a waste if it’s unused,” he added.
Kraft said he hopes the new hall will attract new groups to the legion. He called the finished product “unbelievable,” and added, “You’ll have to come here and see it to believe it,” he said.
The post’s banquet hall is available for rent for parties, sales meetings, conferences, trade shows, showcases, ceremonies, club meetings, reunions and more. To reserve the space, contact Kraft at (516) 429-6174 or email@example.com