City mulls facelift for Veterans Memorial Building |

City mulls facelift for Veterans Memorial Building

Its landscaping consists of slabs of cracked concrete, littered with cigarette butts, interspersed with beds of dirt.

The off-white paint scheme is looking a bit sickly these days, with rust stains dripping from the “Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States” plaque emblazoned beside the door.

But Nevada City’s Veterans Memorial Building won’t look like “downtown Beirut” much longer, Mayor Conley Weaver said.

The city has plans to take over the management of the decades-old, somewhat-dilapidated building in June, Weaver said.

Weaver said the city will spruce up the county-owned hall and market its availability for events.

“People just don’t realize it’s there,” said City Clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes.

Weaver agreed the building, located at 415 N. Pine St. near the county courthouse, is “underused.”

With few rentals, the county has lost money on the facility “more often than not” in recent years, said Laura Matteson, Nevada County assistant chief executive officer.

Matteson said Nevada City will likely have more success renting out the building because it has a recreation department and operates other facilities, including Seaman Lodge.

“It’s a win-win,” she said.

The hall has a large room upstairs and a dining room downstairs. It also houses a small bar and club for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2655.

The transfer of management won’t affect the veterans, Weaver said.

“Veterans will always get the No. 1 priority,” he said.

The switch isn’t worrying Nevada City Army veteran Henry Dax, who occasionally visits the hall.

“(The building) needs work,” Dax admitted.

Weaver said he hopes the building can eventually pull in extra money for the city, which would try to ensure the hall is made to match the historical attractiveness of the city’s downtown.

Wilcox-Barnes said she doubts rates will be changed for groups that have historically used the building, Currently, the main hall, which holds 120 people, rents for $100 for an entire Saturday.

The history of the Veterans Memorial Building is not well known. It appears the building was constructed in the late 1950s, according to an address inventory kept at the Doris Foley Historical Library. In the early 1960s it was used for civil defense for the county.

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