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ASHBY — American Legion Post 361’s home on New Ipswich Road is hurting, said Commander Tom Sanford.

“We are in a historic town building that is in dire need of repair,” Sanford said.

The building’s exterior could need more than $10,000 of work, he estimated.

Sanford and other post officials, including Larry Swope, Peter Bezanson and Chris Travers, approached the Finance Committee this week asking for advice on where to find funding for repairs.

The former schoolhouse is owned by the town but has been operated and maintained by the legion since 1947, Sanford said.

“For the most part we’ve been able to, up to this date, take care of most of the repairs ourselves,” Sanford said. “But with the economy, we aren’t getting the income we used to.”

Post members stressed the close relationship it has with the community and the building’s availability for public and civic functions such as Council on Aging meetings.

The town probably does not have money to invest in the building right now, said Finance Committee Chairman Lillian Whitney.

She referred post officials to the Massachusetts Historic Commission which often has grant money available.

“You being in a historical district is to your advantage,” Whitney said.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office is also a good resource, she said.

“They will direct you for grants, money or whatever forms you want,” Whitney said. “I’ve called them many, many times and they have been very helpful.”

The front portion of the building is a former schoolhouse but the rear has more recent additions, Sanford said.

The older portion of the building may eventually qualify for a grant from the state commission but the new portion may need funding from the state, Travers said.

The electrical system is inadequate and there is a hole in the chimney, he said.

“That building should be condemned and I’m not exaggerating,” Travers said.

Whitney and committee member Mary Krapf recommended the legion develop a detailed list of necessary repairs and cost estimates to present the Board of Selectmen.

“I know the Finance Committee is behind you 100 percent and will support you in whatever way we can,” Whitney said.

— Jack Minch