St. Paul, Minn. – Aging veterans and other eligible family members from Preston and the surrounding
region may have a new option for residential skilled nursing care by 2022. For the last few years, local
officials and veterans’ advocates have lobbied for the addition of a new Minnesota State Veterans Home
in their community. Plans are moving forward, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of
Veterans Affairs (MDVA).
Preston is one of three Minnesota cities pursuing a future Minnesota Veterans Home. The proposed
Preston location is a 15-acre bluff-top site surrounded by a 200-year-old native white oak forest. In
2018, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $10.2 million toward the cost of the project which will be
funded by a combination of federal-granted (65 percent), state-bonded and pending community provided
monies (35 percent). In March of this year, MDVA submitted an application for Federal funds
from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; that funding will not be confirmed until early 2020.
While Federal funds are not guaranteed, there is optimism among the planning team. “MDVA looks
forward to approval of our Federal funding request and breaking ground on this new Veterans Home
next year,” said Douglas Hughes, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Healthcare, MDVA.
Representatives from MDVA, the Minnesota Department of Administration and the
architecture/engineering firms of Wold and Perkins Eastman visited Preston on May 16 to provide an
update. Local leaders were eager to learn more about the proposed Veterans Home and how their fall
2018 feedback was incorporated into the facility’s design.
The Preston Home’s design incorporates regional building materials, such as wood and stone, and is laid
out to take advantage of the views of the surrounding countryside from the bluff-top setting. The public
spaces include a Town Center featuring a small coffee shop/cafe, theater/meeting room, family dining
room, meditation room/chapel, and club room. The 54 residential units are split into three, 18-resident
“households” avoiding long institutional-feeling hallways.
“The Preston community is excited and honored to be home of the future Veterans Home,” said Preston Mayor Kurt Reicks. “The picturesque bluff-top site, the state-of-the-art facility and the exceptional care delivered will provide a well-deserved home for our Veterans. We owe it to the men and women who served our country.”
Other local officials invited to the May 16 meeting included Joe Hoffman, City Administrator, City of Preston; Jim Bakken, Public Works Director, City of Preston; Kurt Reicks, Mayor, City of Preston; Robert Maust, City Council Member, City of Preston; Charles Sparks, City Council Member, City of Preston; Cathy Enerson, Economic Development Director, City of Preston; Jason Marquardt, Veterans Service Officer, Fillmore County; Duane Bakke, Commissioner, Fillmore County; Cliff Sackett, Preston VFW and American Legion; Ron Laughlin, Preston VFW and American Legion; Becky Jones, President, Preston Chamber of Commerce; Gabby Kinneberg, Tourism Director, City of Preston; Don Brockway, American Legion; Charles Aug, Community Bank; Don Gildner, Co-Chair of the Preston Veterans Home Committee and John Szuch, local veteran.
Construction on the Veterans Home will be led by a general contractor which will strive to hire a significant percentage of sub-contractors from the local community. The new Minnesota Veterans Homes will also support the local economies long-term by offering employment opportunities to those who share the MDVA mission to care for Veterans.
For more information, visit the MDVA website at www.mn.gov/mdva/homes/futurehomes.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is a cabinet-level state agency dedicated to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. In addition to overseeing the five State Veterans Homes, MDVA helps eligible Veterans and families secure state and federal benefits and provides programs and services relating to higher education, benefits, burial, claims, outreach and Veterans employment. Veterans and their families are encouraged to visit www.MinnesotaVeteran.org or call 1-(888)-LinkVet for more information about benefits.
ATTENTION: The Preston Park Board is accepting applications for LIFEGUARDS for the 2019 Summer season (June-mid August). Lifeguards must be at least 15 years of age and are required to complete Lifeguard training along with the provided CPR/First Aid and orientation classes. Lifeguard training is paid for by the Park Board upon completion of an application and a commitment to work 40 hours per month in June & July and 20 hours in August. Another available option is to be certified as a WSI (must be at least 16 years of age) to teach swim lessons. WSI training is paid for by the Park Board upon commitment to working at least 30 hours as a WSI. Lifeguard wages start at $9.79 with additional wages for WSI when teaching lessons. Applications are available at Preston City Hall. Application deadline is Wednesday, January 16, 2019.
At the regular Public Utility Commission meeting on December 11, 2018, the commission voted to raise the electric base and kWh charges by 3% and residential and commercial sewer base and use charges by 10%. This increase will be effective February 1, 2019. The average residential customer will see an increase in their monthly utility bill of $1.93 for electric and $2.62 for sewer. The reasons for the rate increases are proposed capital improvements to the electric and sewer systems. For more information, please contact the PPU office at 507-765-2491.
Average PPU residential customer is billed for 536kWh of electricity and 3,021 gallons of water/sewer usage per month based on billing statistics for the twelve months ending November 30, 2018.
Electric – 3% rate revenue increase
Residential customer base charges and use (kWh) charges will increase 3%
Commercial customer base charges and use (kWh) charges will increase 3%
Industrial use customer demand charges and use (kWh) charges will increase 3%
Water – no increase
Sewer – 10% rate revenue increase
Residential and Commercial customer base charges and usage will increase 10%
Utility Rate Comparisons
On Thursday, December 6, the Preston Veterans Home Committee, the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Home Design Firms, Wold and Perkins-Eastman, will be presenting the Preston Veterans Home concept plans to the community. The community meeting will be held at the Preston Servicemen’s Club and will begin at 10:30am and last until 12:30pm.
The Committee would like to extend this invitation to the any donors, Veterans and residents in Southeast Minnesota. This will be a great time for community members to see what the development of the Veterans Home will look like at the conceptual phase of design.
The Preston Veterans Home will be a 54-bed skilled nursing care facility. The Veterans Home will serve 15 counties in Southeastern Minnesota. The Preston project is projected to cost just over $30 million. A federal application for the remaining construction costs will be sent in April of 2019. Ground breaking is expected to take place in late Fall of 2019.
For more information on the Preston Veterans Home Project please go to the veterans home page.
Preston City Administrator