After arson, Niles FOP lodge begins anewPublished 11:08am Friday, January 11, 2013
Ten months ago, a flaming car slammed into the front of the Niles Fraternal Order of Police Lodge and burned the building to the ground.
On Thursday, lodge president Mike Dawson, his wife Margaret, lodge treasurer Jim Gillispie and city administrator Ric Huff put shovels in the dirt during a ceremonial groundbreaking for what will be the new and improved lodge.
Construction began Tuesday by general contractor DC Construction, of Mishawaka.
Dawson said the footings have been dug and poured and workers are expected to frame and pour the walls Friday. The project is expected to take four months.
Dawson said he is excited to see the lodge finished.
“This is part of the history of Niles,” he said. “It’s been here since ’55 supporting the youth and showing that police officers do care to give back to the community.”
The building is being constructed 40-feet closer to the St. Joseph River than the old lodge. The new lodge will be about 5,200 square feet with large windows in view of the river.
“It will be more user-friendly, too,” Dawson said. “The bar and the kitchen will be next to each other and there will be a pass-through window for the kitchen.”
Dawson said the old building was insured for less than what it will cost to construct the new building.
“Right now, we’re a little short,” he said.
Because of this, the Niles FOP is offering a buy-a-brick program to the public as a fundraiser.
Bricks that can be engraved with a name, business or in memory of a loved one can be purchased for $35 a brick or $60 for two bricks. The bricks will be permanently fixed on the front of the building. Each brick will include three lines of print with 15 characters per line.
Dawson said it would take 1,000 bricks to complete the project. He said he hopes to raise between $20,000 and $30,000.
For more information, or to donate, contact the FOP at email@example.com.