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Posted on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 5:54 a.m.

After devastating fire, American Legion post finds new home in Ypsilanti

By Tom Perkins


The future American Legion Post 282 on Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti.

Tom Perkins | For

Leaders of the former Ypsilanti American Legion post that burned in February 2008 are moving forward with plans to open a new post in the city.

Last week, the Ypsilanti City Council unanimously approved rezoning several parcels along Ecorse Road where the Legion bought a building. The rezoning will allow the group to open a private club and meeting hall where it previously wasn’t permitted.

The post will move into the former Bailes Pharmacy at 100 Ecorse Road between Towner and Ford streets. The council also voted to rezone the other two parcels on the 100 block. The area is currently zoned B1, neighborhood business, but the city’s master plan calls for the land on the 100 through 300 blocks of Ecorse Road, as well as several adjacent residences, to be rezoned to B2, community business.

Assistant City Planner Bonnie Wessler said the city will soon ask the council to rezone the parcels along the 200 and 300 blocks. Roughly half the businesses along the stretch are vacant, but a Taco Bell, Pea Pod Chinese restaurant and several small retail shops are among those still open.

Michael Daughenbaugh, commander of the American Legion Post 282, said the group has been looking for a new home since the last building at 117 South Huron Street near downtown Ypsilanti burned. He said they bought land on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township, but didn’t have enough money to build a new building.

The group found the 4,400-square-foot former pharmacy while recently looking for a building to suit the organization's needs, Daughenbaugh said. He thanked the council for rezoning the half-acre parcel.

“We need to have a home for our veterans and we don’t have one in Ypsilanti,” Daughenbaugh said. “It has been a long time and we have a lot of members here who are looking for a home.“

The post will not be put on the city’s tax rolls because American Legions are exempt per Internal Revenue Service code.

Gilbert Residence assisted living home, adjacent to the post's old property, bought the parcel in January. No site plan for expansion has been submitted to the city planning department.

Daughenbaugh said there are plans to move place a cannon from the old post outside the new building, along with several flagpoles and a memorial. No timeline on when the new post will open was given.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Why can't the American Legion and VFW share space so only one property doesn't pay taxes? That way everyone wins and the city can collect much needed tax revenues.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

The city needs jobs


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

This town has no money but keeps making properties tax exempt. Is it any wonder Ypsilanti is struggling under Mayor Schreiber and his cronies?


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

I feel that having buildings with occupancy may encourage additional growth to some of those vacant shops that will in most instances pay taxes. Let's face it, If I wanted to open a business the last place I would want to invest in is near an abandoned row of properties which this area of Ypsi is quickly becoming.

joe golder

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

Midtowner.... is it true the Gilbert residence bought the property?


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

The old American Legion site that is back on the tax rolls is an empty lot that's worth very little. The new American Legion used to be a pharmacy with the building worth over $300,000. The "new" taxes from the property on Huron are dwarfed by the amount of "old" taxes being lost by the pharmacy going off the tax rolls. Ypsilanti loses again!


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

joe, no the previous property would not have been on the tax rolls, so assuming the new owners are not a IRS tax exempt organization (and from the discription they are not), then the old proprty would have gone back on the tax rolls.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

So you would prefer to say screw the American Legion so the property, which was vacant and likely in disrepair could stay on the tax rolls, assuming any taxes were even being paid on the property. Maybe the Legion Hall could help clean up the area some and allow for additional businesses to develop along the stretch of road. Not to mention, the fact they bought this property and have sold the previous property, which now goes onto the cities tax rolls instead of being exempt for taxation previouslly.

joe golder

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Was the old property on huron on the tax rolls? Will it go back on now?


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

What does it matter whether it is tax exempt or not. They aren't getting taxes on it now and it is an eye sore that can now be changed into useful space. And it is for the vets, which is a good thing as well.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

I think it's just wonderful. Looks like a perfect spot for our Vets. I look forward to seeing them move in.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 10:39 a.m.

Good for the city council. They approved the rezoning even though it took the parcel off the tax rolls. Support our vets!