VFW eager to move in to new home at 107 E. Meadow Lane

“Location, location, location.”

The age-old real estate mantra was taken to heart by Marshalltown’s Harry C. Harter Post #839 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The group found a new home at 107 E. Meadow Lane, and the site’s location, large parking lot and price made it attractive, said Commander Larry Larson.

The VFW purchased the property from Dean and Denise Stucky of Marshalltown for $180,000 cash, and the closing took place Jan. 11, said Doug Dirks, post quartermaster.

The VFW will take possession Feb. 3.

Stucky’s Vacuum, Best Soy Candle Co. and Jordan’s Carpet Cleaning do business in the building now.

The Stuckys purchased the former Mary Katherine’s Bridal property at 119 E. Main St. in December.

Since then, they have been renovating that building for a Feb. 4 opening.

“Nothing will change,” said Denise Stucky. “We will continue to offer the same services we did before.”

Next up for the VFW is selecting a contractor to extensively remodel their new home. Two handicapped accessible bathrooms, a kitchen and offices, among other features, will be installed.

The purchase price used much, but not all, of the organization’s financial reserves, said Dirks.

“We expect remodeling to cost $75,000 to $80,000,” said Larson. “That will include parking lot repair and building renovations.”

Larson and Dirks said the organization will solicit donations from Marshalltown area businesses and residents.

“Many of our members believed strongly we should pay cash and not incur debt on the building,” Larson said.

Additionally, the veterans will be doing some remodeling themselves to lower project costs. Fundraising details will be released later, Dirks said.

Larson and Dirks said a long-term goal is to rent the facility to the public for dances, receptions and other activities.

The Meadow Lane site will be the VFW’s fourth home since World War II ended in 1945.

Membership swelled after the war, resulting in the need for a larger facility.

A building at 20 E. State St. was found, and after an extensive remodeling, was formally commissioned as headquarters by Gov. Robert D. Blue on April 7, 1946.

Later, financial difficulties forced the VFW to sell that property and move to 108 N. Center St.

A 2010 ice storm caused severe damage to the building roof, restricting activities.

The building was demolished in January, 2012 after a settlement was reached with an insurance company.

Since then, the VFW was given use of the basement at the American Legion building, 1301 S. Sixth St.

“We appreciate the American Legion’s hospitality,” Larson said. “It has worked well, since many VFW members are Legion members too.”

Marshalltown’s Jeff Heiden is a member of both organizations and a veteran Realtor.

He said the VFW’s purchase of the Stucky building was good for all concerned.

“The size of the building is just right for VFW and Auxiliary activities,” he said. “The property is located in a nice neighborhood, and we are looking forward to moving in once construction is complete.”