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Willmar veterans home included in House bonding bill

WILLMAR - Funding for a veterans mental health nursing home in Willmar is included in a $200 million House supplemental bonding bill.

The bill was introduced last night, is expected to pass through committees this week and get final approval in the House on Monday, according to Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar.

The bill includes $5 million in state bonding for the $21 million project. Federal and local funds would also be needed.

Juhnke said he doesn't want the project to die this year. It was included in the House bonding bill in 2008 but not in the Senate bill.

That scenario is repeating itself this year.

The Senate has already passed a $367 million public works spending bill but it doesn't include funding for the Willmar veterans home.

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, said he's not optimistic the project will be added.

Gimse said he's received a letter from Gov. Tim Pawlenty that the spending bill needs to be trimmed.

"These types of projects don't have much hope this year," said Gimse. "I don't see any of the veterans proposals moving on the senate side at this point in time."

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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