Whiskey River

This 2017 photo shows Whiskey River bar and restaurant in St. Peter shortly before it closed. A new sports bar is opening there this month.

ST. PETER — St. Peter’s American Legion accepted a donation of the Whiskey River building this week, but members haven’t yet decided what to do with the space.

The Nicollet County Bank donated the space to the William R. Witty American Legion Post 37, which is currently located at 229 W. Nassau St. The Whiskey River restaurant at 34166 Minnesota 99 shuttered in January 2017. The business was a community mainstay since 1978.

Legion membership “overwhelmingly approved” the gift, according to a news release.

“We are honored by and humbled at the generosity of Nicollet County Bank and its board of directors,” stated Post 37 Commander Dave Arpin. “This gift sets the William R. Witty American Legion up to continue its mission of supporting veterans, their families and our community.”

Sam Gault Jr., bank president and board chair, called the donation a win for both the bank and the veterans organization.

“A situation arose where the bank could benefit from a gift and an organization could benefit from a gift, and it seemed like a win-win situation,” he said.

Legion members haven’t yet decided whether to move the legion to the new building. An appointed committee will weigh options and bring a proposal back to membership.

Post 37’s Nassau Street building remains in need of repairs. The organization’s website lists flooring, lighting and the bathrooms among the necessary updates and repairs. A thermometer tracking donations for completed, ongoing and future projects shows at least $30,000 of a $150,000 goal has been raised.

The organization has been part of the community for nearly 100 years, said Ron Neary, Sons of American Legion Squadron 37 commander, in the release. He and Auxiliary Unit 37 President Heather Tollefson expressed optimism the donation would set the organization on the right course.

“We are excited about what this means for the future of our American Legion and our community,” Tollefson stated. “It will be an exciting time for our Legion as we explore all of the options this gift presents us with.”

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArolaMFP.

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