- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the transfer of 30 acres of land to Arkansas to build a new veterans nursing home in North Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1bxPWbD ) reports that Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald approved the transfer Tuesday, which will also allow Arkansas to receive a $15.6 million grant to start construction on the facility this summer.

The land will officially be transferred to the state after a 90-day congressional review. The land that will be used takes acreage from the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

The new nursing home will replace the Little Rock Veterans Home, which was closed in 2012 due to disrepair.

Approval for the transfer was delayed last fall due to an environmental assessment of the land that caused state veterans affairs department director Matt Snead to fear that the grant money would not come through.

“We were on pins and needles there for a while,” Snead said Wednesday. “We are where we want to be now, and we can maintain our timeline.”

The federal department announced last March that it would be responsible for 65 percent of the costs to build the new nursing home. State lawmakers budgeted $7.5 million in state surplus funds for the project, and the state Department of Veterans Affairs raised another $900,000.

Little Rock-based Craig Custom Construction will be awarded the contract for the building.

The new facility will have eight residences for housing 96 veterans. It will be built near the Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center.

According to the environment assessment that was conducted, there are about 90,000 veterans living in central Arkansas, and the state is projected to need 653 beds for veterans by 2020. The state currently has one veterans home, which is in Fayetteville and houses about 80 people.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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