Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Veterans Memorial Hall opens in Dixon

New Veterans Memorial Hall opens in Dixon

A sea of more than 200 people proudly wearing the hat of their respective veteran group joined local civic leaders Thursday, Dec. 10, for a dedication of the new Veterans Memorial Hall at 1305 North First St. in Dixon.

"This closes one chapter of a distinguished past and begins another chapter that has the possibilities for an even more distinguished future," said Supervisor Mike Reagan, one of many people who spoke on the collaborative effort of the City, County and Veterans to make the vision a reality.

“Today is a celebration. We are bringing to close a journey that has taken us through many twists and turns. It's all brought us to where we are today,” Supervisor Reagan said.

The new 7,480 square foot facility is a significant upgrade from the old hall in downtown Dixon. The single story building includes an assembly area that can accommodate up to 245 people, a full-service kitchen and bar, three meeting rooms and private offices for the Dixon chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and American Legion Women’s Auxiliary.

The building was purchased by Solano County for $1.2 million in September 2008.  The County invested another $1.2 million in tenant improvements to make the facility fully functional for the veterans.

“There is no comparison,” said Greg Coppes, American Legion commander. “It was a long and grinding process, but you could not ask for more. We love it.”

A facilities feasibility study in December 2006 revealed the cost of modernizing the 86-year-old former hall at 231 North First St. to meet current building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act standards would severely restrict the veterans’ use of the facility.

“As the veterans came to appreciate the real possibilities of a new hall, they made peace with the idea that their old friend would be standing down,” Supervisor Reagan said.

“Those walls have lots of history and lots of memories,” Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor said of the former veterans hall. “But today marks a new chapter. It marks the beginning of a new history and a new historical building in Dixon.”

As the nearest veterans’ facility to the Sacramento Valley Veterans Administration National Cemetery, the Dixon Veterans Memorial Hall will serve the families of veterans across the region and nation.

“This building is a small token of our deepest appreciation. It will service as a pillar of our dedication to our veterans,” said former Dixon Mayor MaryAnn Courville.

The renovation of the building into the Veterans Memorial Hall was designed by Kitchell CEM and the general contractor was Fregoso Builders Inc.  Project management was performed by the Solano County Division of Architectural Services.