One local veterans’ organization is about to lose a big part of its history.
The St. Margaret’s Post 1172 Catholic War Veterans (CWV) is selling its building on Metropolitan Avenue near 73rd Place, which has housed the organization for nearly 40 years The Courier has learned.
The decision to sell the building came after an overwhelmingly popular vote by members. People at Post 1172 said they decided to sell because attendance is down at meetings and events due to age-related problems and because the cost to maintain the building is not worth it.
Although the organization has about 80 current members, fewer than 20 actively attend meetings, which are on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. The building is not otherwise in use.
“It’s happening throughout fraternity organizations. They’re just impossible to keep up,” said Paul Cuskley, second vice-commander of the New York CWV.
Post 1172 was chartered in 1947, following World War II, with 15 members. The organization was named after St. Margaret’s Roman Church in Middle Village, because it is the closest Catholic parish.
The institutions are not associated, but members of the organization met at St. Margaret’s Church before they bought the current building in 1976, a representative for the organization said.
In the past, about 45 members would show up to meetings regularly and the building was open a few days a week. But most members are World War II veterans, so many are very elderly and can’t physically attend.
Although active membership is down, the veterans still hold many events. They visit the veterans’ hospital in St. Albans and a Catholic veterans’ cemetery on Long Island. They also visit memorials on Veterans Day, attend patriotic events and sponsor youth programs in local schools.
The organization hired Macaluso Reality to sell the building. Post 1172 leaders said they want to find a place in the community to host the twice-a-month forums.
“Personally I would miss it. I’ve been going there since it was purchased, but we don’t want another major war to get our membership up,” said a spokesperson for Post 1172. “Nothing would change, except for the location.”
The money from the sale of the building will be donated to charity, the spokesperson said.