By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Grand Island is mounting a campaign to keep its Veterans Home, in a competition that may pit the tri-cities against each other.
Governor Dave Heineman recently announced support to build a new Central Nebraska Veterans Home.
Heineman says the current home is more than outdated.
He said, "It's atrocious and as a veteran, I'm appalled and that's why I put into my budget up to $47 million that we're going to move forward in partnership with the federal government. We need a new veterans home."
But there's a catch. The new home is up for grabs with a competition between central Nebraska communities, not just Grand Island.
That came as a surprise to some community leaders, given the city also has a veterans cemetery and VA Medical Center.
The home dates back to 1887 in Grand Island. Mayor Jay Vavricek says the city will fight hard to be the site of the new facility.
He said, "The spirit that brought the veterans home here 125 years ago, we're going to leverage that same spirit, make sure it stays in Grand Island. We're honored by the service and sacrifice of veterans. Of course, it's many jobs, but also protective of the assets there, the ground itself and history of our community's support of veterans."
The majority of the $120 million price tag would be picked up by the federal government. Heineman said it will be a three to five year process.