Governor Walz Announces Federal Funding for Three New Minnesota Veterans Homes
Minnesota Veterans Homes will be located in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston
March 30, 2021, Governor Tim Walz announced that all three of Minnesota’s proposed new State Veterans Homes projects, to be located in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, will receive federal funding this year. The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released the State Home Construction Grants Fiscal Year 2021 Conditional Approvals.
“As a veteran myself, I recognize the obligation we have as a state and a country to deliver on the benefits our veterans have earned,” said Governor Walz. “We are pleased to be able to expand our State Veterans Homes into three new communities to serve our elderly veterans living in all corners on the state.”
In 2018, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $33 million toward the cost of the projects. The funding plan is a combination of federal-granted (65 percent), state-bonded and community-provided monies (35 percent).
“We appreciate the Minnesota Legislature’s past support of our Veterans and these projects,” said Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Commissioner Larry Herke. “The approval of federal funds will allow us to now move forward with construction. The planning and design process is nearly complete and now with this exciting news, those final touches can be made.”
The three new Minnesota Veterans Homes projects are slated to receive more than $80 million in federal VA funds. By June 30, MDVA will complete the Federal VA grant application process to obtain the funds.
MDVA leaders have worked closely with local elected officials and veterans’ stakeholders on the planning for the new Veterans Homes. The communities of Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston have been very engaged in the process, donating land for the building sites and raising additional funds to support amenities for the new homes.
- In Bemidji, the proposed facility reflects a North Woods cabin design for the public spaces as well as the 72 residential units that are split into two sections, avoiding long institutional-feeling hallways.
- The Montevideo facility blends into the local prairie style environment with 72 residential units as well as a large community meeting room.
- In Preston, the facility will enjoy fantastic views from its hilltop location that includes 54 residential units.
Construction could begin as early as early fall 2021 with an anticipated 18-month construction schedule.
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.
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.
The independent demand study shows if built today, 224 Veterans would reside in the Veterans Home. In 2040 that need will continue and the projected need is for 111 Veteran’s beds. 42,323 Veterans live within the 15 county catchment area of the Veterans Home. Our Veterans earned the right, through service to our County, to be cared for at the future Veterans Home.
The State contribution of $10.2M, the local donations of $1,065,000 that were donated by September 28, 2018, along with a Federal match of $22,530,000, dictate the size and amenities of the new facility.
Donations continue to be accepted, but will not be considered for the overall size of the Home. In-kind donation will also be considered by the MDVA.
Please see the donation card below if you would like to donate and if you have any further questions you can reach out to Joe Hoffman, Preston City Administrator, at 507-765-2153.
Most veterans left their communities behind to serve their country.
Having veteran homes in Greater Minnesota ensures our veterans don’t again need to leave their communities to get the care they deserve.
Stay up to date on the progress of the veterans home:
- March 30, 2021 Governor Walz Announces Federal Funding for Three New Minnesota Veterans Homes
- June 10, 2019 – Planning continues for proposed Veterans Home
- September 27, 2018 – Future Preston Veterans Home gets community support
- July 20, 2018 – Fundraising campaign approved for veterans home
- May 30, 2018 – Mark Dayton Signs Public Works Bonding Bill
- May 10, 2018 – Senate unveils Bonding Bill
- April 12, 2018 – Commissioners put support behind Preston site for possible Veterans Home
- April 9, 2018 – Preston commits cash contribution for veterans home
- February 13, 2018 – Making the Case for Fillmore County Veterans Home
- February 12, 2018 – State Senators travel to Fillmore County to consider new Veterans Home
- November 6, 2017 – Economic impact of veterans home in Fillmore County | Fillmore County Journal
- September 15, 2017 – Wanted: A state veterans home in Fillmore County | Post Bulletin
- August 21, 2017 – Congressman Walz’s staff visits proposed veteran home sites | Fillmore County Journal
- August 16, 2017 – Local Veterans Look for Funding For Vets Home In Preston | ABC 6 NEWS