Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett said the city's former Moose Lodge, the purchase of which the City Council approved Monday night, could potentially be used as a new military museum.
The council voted to appropriate $435,000 from the city's unappropriated fund balance. The amount is equal to the assessed value of the land, not the building, which is on North Rogers Street near City Hall, City Manager Doug Miller said.
Miller said the owner of the building accepted the offer and the city is working on a contract of sale, as well as plans for an environmental assessment.
According to state tax records, the property is owned by Aberdeen Lodge 1450 of the Loyal Order of Moose. The building carries an assessment of $265,000.
The council voted unanimously to buy the 1.16-acre property and made no comment about it during the council meeting.
Bennett said afterward, however, that a group which met recently at Battelle, one of the city's prominent defense contractors, brought up the possibility of turning the Moose property into a military museum.
The mayor said the concept could potentially ride on the success of the Army Ordnance Museum, most whose collection left Aberdeen Proving Ground for Virginia in 2010, after being at APG since 1924.
Some of the museum's collection remained on post, but an effort involving APG representatives and community leaders to re-establish the museum was shelved last year. At the time, the APG Garrison did not explain the decision.
"This would be something that draws a lot of tourism in," Bennett said of the proposal. "That ordnance museum pulled a lot of people in."
Bennett noted the Moose site has enough land for such a project.