Bemidji vets home on brink of construction
ST. PAUL – State legislation Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington, authored to construct a veterans home in Bemidji has been met with a commitment for federal dollars necessary for the project to become reality.
The Minnesota Legislature in 2018 approved $33 million for three veterans homes in Minnesota, including funding Bliss sponsored for a facility in Bemidji. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently approved more than $80 million for the projects to cover its side of the funding for the home in Bemidji, along with ones in Montevideo and Preston.
“We have been working for more than a decade to bring a veterans home to Bemidji and it is satisfying to move ever-closer to seeing shovels in the ground,” Bliss said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am for veterans in our area who will be able to do their final tour of duty near their families. They have sacrificed so much for us and we owe it to them to provide the services they need. This has been a major community effort and I can’t thank people enough who have worked so hard to make this happen.”
State Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook, is an Army veteran who represents a district just north of Bemidji and co-authored Bliss’s 2018 veterans home bill.
“This is a great day for the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, Grossell said. “Our area of the state was a desert for this type of facility and now our heroes, who were sent around the world to serve our country, can get the care and treatment they need closer to home.”
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs indicates the process to obtain the federal funds will be completed by June 30 and construction could begin as early as this fall. The facility proposed in Bemidji features a North Woods cabin design, with 72 residential units and public spaces.