Local Legion Group Looking for New Home

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They say they were promised a new home decades ago, but the city hasn't kept up its end of the bargain.

Members of Lansing's Capitol City American Legion Post were forced out of their home at the Lansing Civic Center when it was torn down in 1995.

And now the Post wants to move into an old fire station in the Moores Park Neighborhood, which the city is in the midst of trying to sell.

Gary Casteel says he fulfilled his promise to his country when he severed in the Vietnam War and now he wants Lansing to fulfill a promise of its own.

"They promised us a new building, they promised us another home when they tore (the Civic Center) down," Casteel said.

The group is now eying Fire Station #5 on Todd Ave. and they've sent letters to both the city council and the Mayor's office signaling interest but no one has responded, according to Casteel.

They've offered to pay $1 for the property because they feel the city owes it to them.

"We've looked at it, we've went through it and it fits our needs right to the letter," he said.

But Bob Johnson, director with Lansing's Neighborhood Planning and Development office said that's not quite how it works.

"I personally am very supportive of our men and women in the armed forces and our vets, but when we look at when it comes to property issues there are different options," Johnson said.

He said a group can't come and make such an offer on a property which has already been put through a process and put on the market rather than going through a designated application process.

"All we ask is that anyone interested follow a particular path because that is the fair and transparent path," Johnson said.

He also added the city would like to see a plan for the property in terms of how a prospective buyer would pay for it, fix it up, and maintain it, which he hasn't seen presented yet by the group.

But Casteel says they shouldn't have to go through that process.

"We've been patient for almost 20 years," he said. "Let's get down to business."

Although the Post claims the city made a promise, Casteel admits no binding document or paperwork exists specifying the city has any legal obligation to provide a new home for the group.

The real estate firm, CBRE is overseeing the sale of the property.

The Post currently resides outside the city limits in a completely different county.

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