Servicemen’s Clubhouse razed to make way for new Taco Bell

IRVINGTON, NJ — The old Servicemen’s Clubhouse on Springfield Avenue across from Civic Square is gone.

The clubhouse, which had been used as recently as Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, has been demolished to make way for the new Taco Bell restaurant that a developer paid the township $800,000 for permission to build, according to Mayor Tony Vauss.

“It’s gone,” Ed Kaiser, a longtime township resident, said Thursday, June 22. “They tore it down last week on Sunday, while everyone in town was busy doing something else. It was literally there one day and gone the next.”

Attempts to determine from local officials when construction on the new Taco Bell restaurant will begin were not successful by press time this week.

“The Servicemen’s Club was not being utilized in the best fashion that it should have been utilized,” Camptown VFW Post 1941 Senior Vice Commander William Powell said Saturday, May 13, during a Mother’s Day breakfast event.

Powell and former Camptown VFW Post Commander Lewis Johnson said their goal is to pass their skills on younger generations and individuals or groups in the community that could benefit from them. He said he doesn’t “want to die with them.”

“Each one teach one,” said Powell. “We’re all born teachers, so we’ve got to give back.”

“It’s a shame that we’re going to lose the facility, but we tried to take steps to stop the procedures that were going on,” Johnson said Sept. 3, 2016, after Brenda Jenkins of the Volunteer Network for Veterans group tried to mount a last-ditch effort to save the old building with a failed attempt to have it designated a historical site. “What happened was, there were a lot of things that were not in play. We met with Brenda, so we went out there in support of her. The main thing is they couldn’t prove that the building was historical and, because they couldn’t prove that land and site were historical, they couldn’t stop the deal.”

Jenkins could not be reached for comment about the Servicemen’s Clubhouse demolition by press time this week.