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Montevideo makes its mark again for vet home, turns out for bonding tour

MONTEVIDEO -- Supporters of a veterans nursing home in Montevideo made their mark again as they again showed up in large numbers Monday for a visit by the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee.

Tom Cherveny / Tribune Members of the State Senate Capital Investment Committee listen Monday as proponents of a veterans nursing home in Montevideo explain their request for state funding. From left are Sens. John Jasinski, Scott Newman and David Senjem.
Tom Cherveny / Tribune Members of the State Senate Capital Investment Committee listen Monday as proponents of a veterans nursing home in Montevideo explain their request for state funding. From left are Sens. John Jasinski, Scott Newman and David Senjem.

MONTEVIDEO - Supporters of a veterans nursing home in Montevideo made their mark again as they again showed up in large numbers Monday for a visit by the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee.

"This is pretty remarkable," State Sen. David Senjum, R-Rochester, chairman of the committee, said Monday afternoon to a crowd estimated at nearly 200 at the American Legion Club in Montevideo.

Senjum and other committee members said they had not forgotten when as many people stood out in a cold rain in November 2015 to greet them when they toured the proposed site for the nursing home.

Montevideo is seeking state bond funds to help construct a 70-bed nursing care facility. The facility is estimated to cost $43,700,000 to construct, and the state would be responsible for one-third, or $14 million of the total.

Proponents of the project have raised over $5 million in pledges toward the project. The local contribution reduces the state share to $9 million, and makes that the amount of bond funds the community is seeking.

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The federal government would be responsible for two-thirds of the construction costs, or an estimated $29 million. The state must approve its share of funding before it can apply for federal funding, proponents told the legislators.

Senjum said local legislators Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, and Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, have impressed on committee members the importance of the project.

While the committee chairman made no promises, he offered encouragement to the supporters. "You stand strong with respect to our bonding bill as we think about it this next year," Senjum said.

He also assured supporters that Gov. Mark Dayton would support the veterans home funding, jokingly stating: "The governor will sign any bonding bill we give him, if it is big enough.''

The bonding committee is considering more than $3.5 billion in bonding requests, Senjum told the Tribune. He said he is expecting a bonding bill this session in the neighborhood of $800 million.

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs has identified a need for 234 new nursing beds in Minnesota, according to Angie Steinbach, assistant city manager for Montevideo. There is a 1,500-name waiting list for veterans home beds, she said.

She told committee members that more than 12,000 veterans live within a 60-minute drive of Montevideo, and that there are 12 National Guard units based in that radius. There are over 62,000 veterans living within a 90-minute drive of Montevideo.

Supporters of the Montevideo home pointed out that - along with its location and proximity to veterans - the community is home to a VA medical clinic, critical care hospital, and other services that would complement a nursing facility.

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Steinbach and Marv Garbe, Montevideo City Council president, also used the visit to underscore the community support for a veterans home. This marks the 11th year the community has worked for state support. "Our passion for services for our veterans will not subside,'' Steinbach said to the committee.

Tom Cherveny / Tribune Supporters of a Montevideo veterans home showed up in numbers, well over 100, as members of the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee heard proponents outline their funding request on Monday in Montevideo. Committee member Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen is in foreground.
Tom Cherveny / Tribune Supporters of a Montevideo veterans home showed up in numbers, well over 100, as members of the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee heard proponents outline their funding request on Monday in Montevideo. Committee member Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen is in foreground.

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