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Chippewa County commissioners show support for veterans home plan

MONTEVIDEO -- Montevideo's efforts to become the site of a new veterans home gained an important financial boost Tuesday.

The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute $300,000 toward a financial package that will be part of the city's proposal to the state Legislature, said Steve Jones, Montevideo city manager.

The $300,000 pledge from the county will be added to a $200,000 contribution already promised by the city of Montevideo.

Jones said the community project is hoping to secure $1 million in pledges by the end of this year, and to raise another $1 million in commitments next year. He and other task force members will be calling on civic organizations, businesses and others before year's end.

The support from the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners was more than requested, and helps send a strong message of support for the project, he said. A Montevideo task force is putting together a package for a 95-bed veterans home. Members will bring that package to the Capitol this January. Local legislators including Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, and Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, have offered to introduce legislation on behalf of it.

The city of Montevideo previously retained Short, Elliot and Hendrickson to pre-design a veterans home. It would be located on city-owned property near the Montevideo Middle School.

The city is also working with the University of Minnesota Extension's Department of Applied Economics. The department is completing an economic impact analysis of the project.

The study is examining the economic advantages the project can offer Montevideo. It is also analyzing the availability of skilled workers and other support services that would be needed. It will be reporting on its findings later this month.

The city had a public meeting on the veterans home project last week and found strong local support for the venture, Jones said.

The city is hoping to put together a package for the Legislature that will eventually include up to $2 million worth of financial incentives. The city will also point out the availability of health care services at the Veterans Administration Medical Clinic that is located in Montevideo.