The Vader Lions Hall, located at 627 B St., in Vader, had been home to the Vader Lions Club since 1974, but was sold at the end of last month to area businessoman Judy Costello in light of the high cost to the club of keeping the building available for community functions. Costello has said, though she is still developing long-term plans for the facility, it's ultimate purpose will still be to serve the community.
The Vader Lions Club has sold their Lions Hall to local businesswoman Judy Costello in light of ongoing concerns over their ability to continue paying for the facility's upkeep.
Located at 627 B St., Club President Richard Brice said the hall had been costing local Lions around $4,000 per year (the bulk of funds raised by the group annually) to maintain, on top of present needs for a new heat pump and refrigerator, as well as repairs to the exterior of the building. Prior to becoming the local Lions Hall in 1974, the building had served at different times as a general store, the home of the Order of the Oddfellows, as well as a meeting place for local seniors prior to the establishment of the Olequa Senior Center.
Brice said the Lions Club had been giving serious thought to selling the property for the last year and, when an offer was made by Costello of $5,000 to purchase the entire parcel, club members felt it was in their best interest to sell.
"We decided it was a good deal, so we took it," he said, stating the funds generated from the sale of the property will be used to help bolster other club programs such as scholarships for local students, which the club is free to pursue more aggressively without the need to pay for hall maintenance.
Costello officially acquired the property on Sept. 29 and has since begun making repairs and evaluating the facility to determine what will become of it, stating one of her first priorities is to make the necessary upgrades to have the kitchen commercially certified by the county's health department. She said she is still formulating a specific plan for its long-term use, adding its ultimate function will be to serve area residents.
"The community will love it," she said. "It will have something for everyone."
"If It works out, it's going to be a great deal," added Brice on the topic of Costello's acquisition of the building.
Under the Lions, the facility had been available to rent out for different private events, such as funerals, weddings and family reunions, as well as offered for various community programs, in addition to regular Lions Club meetings.
Brice said, while renovations are under way at the old Lions Hall, which Costello has said will be taking place over the coming months, club members will be holding their regular meetings (the first and third Thursdays of the month) at Country House restaurant by Exit 59. He added an agreement is in place with Costello to resume regular meetings at the Lions Hall building for one year once renovations are finished, after which a new agreement will be negotiated based on the needs of both parties at the time.
Brice added, looking a year down the road, he is uncertain what shape the Vader Lions Club will be taking, stating they only have seven members at this time and have been extended an offer by the Winlock Lions Club to join their group and continue serving as part of a larger program.
Brice said, to maintain a local Lions Club, Vader would need to see a significant increase in participation, stating those currently in membership are at risk of becoming too overwhelmed to accomplish everything their club has set out to do.
To learn more about how to become involved in the Vader Lions Club, contact club officer Lois Wilson at (360) 295-3002.