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Hallelujah! The Veterans Memorial Building of Eureka will no longer be a cracked and crumbling H Street eyesore, but instead, a stunning structure that veterans and the community can once again be proud of.

Built in the early 1930s, the building was once a hot spot for local veterans to socialize and a great place for events, but over the years its vitality has dwindled.

Twenty-one year army vet Bill Long has managed the building the past eight years and says, sadly, it’s been plagued with various issues for decades, leaving it run-down and in need of a major makeover.

“33 to 34 years ago the rains came, the roof started leaking, and so on, but mainly the damage has been from the earthquakes,” he says.

But now that’s all turning around. The historic building is covered in scaffolding, it’s been cleared out, crews have brought their tools in, and it’s being gutted almost to the studs, because over the next 18 to 24 months it’s getting completely renovated.

We’re talking a seismic retrofit, new plumbing, upgraded restrooms, new electrical, heating and air conditioning, a remodeled kitchen and bar, a fresh paint job, and a medical room for beds and wheelchairs. Plus it will be fully ADA compliant, complete with an elevator.

Humboldt County Public Works is in charge of the $6.8 million project which became a top priority when the building suffered substantial damage from a 2010 earthquake. The state Office of Emergency Services is contributing 75 percent of the costs and 25 percent will come from the county’s general fund. Adams Commercial General Contracting is leading renovations with help from a number of sub-contractors and county employees.

Long says it’s a blessing the building is finally getting this makeover because there’s no shortage of veterans in need of help.

“When soldiers come back from war or wherever, they need a place to have comradery with people, they need a place to look for jobs and housing, they need a hand up, not a hand out,” he said.

In this LoCO Video Report we take a tour through the old building and learn more about plans for its future.