After 2 1/2 years of fundraising on behalf of the Carlton VFW Post 2962 and Auxiliary, and the help of a $5,000 grant from Enbridge, the Carlton VFW now has an accessibility lift so folks can reach the basement who otherwise couldn't.

Between wedding parties and baby showers, steak fry dinners and meetings, the VFW basement has been a space community members could congregate for a variety of reasons, like the Carlton Area Lions Club meetings.

"Without accessibility into the basement, many of their members are old and no longer able to come," said Linda Kaehler, president of the Auxiliary.

That is no longer the case with the new lift. And once VFW members and the Auxiliary finish with a basement remodeling project sometime this spring, Swenson said he hopes to start hosting more events in the basement like they did in the past.

The basement remodel is the first major repair project since the building was constructed almost 60 years ago. It includes new LED lighting, sheet rock and ceramic tile flooring.

On Thursday, Jan. 3, Charlene Boeselager of Enbridge presented Kaehler and Swenson with the check that will help with the cost of the $27,000 lift or repairs.

"It's a lot of work," Swenson said of the repairs. "But the problem is it takes a lot of money even with volunteers' help, and that's where Enbridge comes in. We borrowed quite a bit of money, but we don't want to go too far in there. We've got to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The VFW and Auxiliary have raised about $37,000 in the past 2 1/2 years, including the grant from Enbridge.