NC DOT grants 30-day extension for American Legion post - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NC DOT grants 30-day extension for American Legion post

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SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

Local veterans received the 30-day extension they needed Wednesday from the North Carolina DOT.

The Samuel C. Hart American Legion Post on Highway 29 is one of the oldest and most active American Legion posts in the state.

"We're one of the oldest active posts in this country," said Post Commander John Taylor.  "Probably one of the oldest active posts in this state."

Earlier this week, the American Legion contacted WBTV with a problem. The state claimed eminent domain and wanted the group of their building by May 8 to make way for a road and rail project.

Members of the post told WBTV they were aware of the project and understand the state has the right to use eminent domain to claim the property. The problem, they say, is the price offered for the property, and a timeline that requires them to leave by May 8.

Veterans said they were also upset the DOT wasn't returning emails or calls. A phone number printed on the bottom of an official DOT document goes to a disconnected phone line.

"It's been very frustrating," Taylor says.   "I've been given disconnected phone numbers, phone numbers of people who won't return our phone calls, they won't talk to our lawyers, they don't return our lawyers emails or his phone calls."

Organized in 1922, and named for a World War One hero, the Samuel C. Hart post has always been active in giving and charity work, especially for veterans.

"When the government came in to build the VA hospital our post sold all that property for $1, and like an American Legion, all we've ever done is do our best to help veterans," Taylor added.

The post hopes to purchase the Kiwanis Camp property on Bringle Ferry Road, but that camp was vandalized twice in the last week causing damage of more than $75,000.

"We're in the process now of negotiating for the Kiwanis Camp, but that building, as you know, is completely destroyed," Taylor added.  "So it's going to take a lot longer than two weeks to repair it, and if we could just get some more time and maybe a fair market, everything would be fine, but as it looks right now, but the 8th, we're going to be out of here with nowhere to go."

Tuesday morning, WBTV contacted the DOT. A spokesperson promised a return call. The spokesperson also said extensions are sometimes granted for evictions, depending on the circumstances.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a different DOT representative returned WBTV's call, but said that they were still working to get information on the case and would call back on Wednesday.

In addition, WBTV contacted NC Representative Carl Ford about the situation.  Ford also said that he was looking into it and would have more information on Wednesday.  In an email post on WBTV.com, Ford commented that this project was part of the high speed rail project approved under the administration of Governor Perdue.

Wednesday afternoon, the American Legion confirmed to WBTV they had received a 30-day extension from the NC DOT.

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