Veterans Park to Take Place of Deteriorating American Legion Building

MINERSVILLE -- A blighted property in Schuylkill County started coming down on Tuesday to make way for a brand new park right in the heart of town.

People in Minersville said they're sad to see the old American Legion go, but they're happy it will be replaced with a park that honors veterans from the state of Pennsylvania.

After generations of celebrations at the American Legion on East Sunbury Street, people said it is bittersweet to see the building being torn down.

Rick Ochs owns a service center right across from the property. He has fond memories with his dad and uncle at the Legion.

"The front used to be the porch there and all the veterans would sit out and all," Ochs said.

Borough officials said back in the day this American Legion used to be one of the strongest in the state, with more than 600 members. However, more recently as membership began to dwindle, the building started to fall apart, and it had to close.

"The inside of the building got to a point that it deteriorated. Our engineer concluded that there was no way to really rehabilitate the building," Minersville Borough Manager Robert Mahalchick said.

The $1.4 million project was made possible by state grants.

Once demolition is finished, a park will take its place dedicated to the veterans of the Keystone State.

"We should give back to what others gave for us," Ochs said.

Borough officials said this property is the gateway to downtown Minersville. Mahalchick is thankful that a beautiful park for our veterans will replace the blighted building.

"It's almost as if the stars aligned properly because we got the funding for the demolition and then all of a sudden, a month or two later, we got funding for the park," Mahalchick said.

Borough officials also plan on applying for more state grants to get rid of other blighted properties in Minersville.

The park dedicated to the veterans is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.