Little Falls, Brainerd and Crosby ranked first, second and third, respectively, in a list of possible locations for a new Minnesota Veterans Home.
State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, said the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs study was completed at the direction of the state Legislature. While the Legislature has made no commitment to build a veterans home the federal government is scheduled to participate by paying for 55 percent of the cost. The state's portion of the remaining costs for the 96-bed facility could be made up of land or structure contributions. Ward said the structures at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center would probably not qualify for the type of buildings the federal government is interested in.
"This is very promising news for our county," Ward said in a news release. "A veterans' home such as this would not only provide necessary care to the men and women who have served our country, it would also provide jobs and economic opportunities for our residents and businesses."
Three sets of criteria were considered in the selection of a new site: mandatory characteristics necessary to receive federal funding, such as proximity to existing Veterans Homes; demographic characteristics, including staffing capabilities and minimum number of veterans located within 60 miles; and community assets, such as the living area for the veterans and amenities of the community.
Seventeen Minnesota communities made the final list and are considered to be a good potential site for a new Veterans Home. Ward said other cities that remain in contention include Bemidji and Willmar. It will now be up to the communities to submit a proposal that expands on the characteristics discussed in the study. According to the MDVA, this proposal will be a major tool in making the final decision.
"I am thrilled that our lakes area came out so strong in the report," Ward said. "This should really help as we push forward in our attempt to get a Veteran's Nursing Home in our area. I am also very proud that our area met the benchmark of being a good place to house and serve our veterans."
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