FOP lodge razed, to be rebuiltPublished 2:07pm Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Niles Fraternal Order of Police lodge destroyed in a March arson fire will be rebuilt.
“There’s no doubt about that,” said Mike Dawson, Niles FOP president.
Dawson was present as a small crew from Pelley Excavating in Niles demolished the building Wednesday morning.
A large excavator knocked down walls and, using its bucket, picked up large chunks of debris and placed them into piles. Those piles were placed in dump trucks and hauled offsite.
No suspects have been announced in the arson fire, but Dawson is optimistic police will find the person or persons responsible.
“It might take a little while, but somebody will talk,” he said.
Dawson said the organization is in the process of making plans to rebuild the FOP lodge. He said the lodge would likely be built closer to the river and farther away from the baseball fields.
“We’d like to have some windows in the new building and clean out the river bank so when people are in it they have a nice view of the river. That will help out with rentals, I think,” he said.
No official plans have been made, but Dawson hopes construction will begin in August. According to Dawson’s preliminary talks with contractors, construction would take about four months.
Dawson said the fire destroyed most of the FOP’s historical records and trophies from baseball tournaments. Efforts are being made to restore the lost history.
The Niles FOP has approximately 100 members. Since the fire, they’ve been holding impromptu meetings at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex and in the parking lot of the FOP lodge.
The Niles FOP still plans to hold its annual summer corn roast. Dawson said they’ve been offered to use the grounds of the Apple Festival.
Dawson said the FOP is planning on holding a community cleanup day at the FOP park, but no date has been set.