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$50K pledged by Yellow Medicine County for building of a new veterans home in Monte

GRANITE FALLS -- Yellow Medicine County will commit $50,000 toward the possible construction of a veterans home in Montevideo, the County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday at its meeting.

The unanimous vote to commit funding came as veterans from across the county filled the commissioners' meeting room in the courthouse to show support for the project.

Montevideo Mayor Jim Curtiss led the veterans home task force members in presenting an outline of the project to the commissioners. The task force is hoping to raise commitments of $1 million to bring to the state Legislature in January.

"Enough to show that we are serious," said Steve Jones, task force member and Montevideo city administrator. The funds are being raised to offset the state's costs toward building a 90-bed home, which would cost an estimated $23 million. Task force members hope an offer of $1 million to $2 million toward the state's estimated $8 million share of costs for a veterans home would encourage the Legislature to approve the project. The remainder of the costs would belong to the federal government.

Jones and others noted that it is difficult to know how the project will fare in the Legislature in light of the fiscal issues facing the state, but they believe it is important to begin the process.

The task force is seeking financial support from throughout Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties since that area would see the greatest economic benefit from hosting a veterans home.

There is a growing need for veterans' long-term care in the state, and that is what is driving the current proposal, according to task force members.

"Bottom line, it's for the vets," said Nick Haggenmiller, a task force member and economic development director in Montevideo.

A number of communities in the state are interested in hosting a veterans home, but currently only Willmar and Montevideo are believed to have formal proposals ready for the Legislature.

With the Yellow Medicine County commitment, the task force has now raised $875,000. Chippewa County has pledged $300,000 and the city of Montevideo $200,000, while the Montevideo Community Development Corporation, Montevideo EDA, and Montevideo Industrial Development Corporation have pledged $325,000.