Veteran's home secures funding
Predue announces conditional OK for $12 million grant
September 20, 2009
Staff Writter / Kinston Free Press
Gov. Bev Perdue announced Sunday that the U.S. Division of Veteran Affairs has issued conditional approval for $12 million grant to fund a new state veterans skilled nursing facility.
“This will bring long term care that is desperately needed to Eastern North Carolina back to people who give so much to America,” Perdue said during Kinston’s All-America City celebration.
Charlie Smith, head of the N.C. Division of Veteran Affairs, said the first step to fulfilling the federal government’s conditions will be completing the design. Upon completion the design must be approved by the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services before the bidding process can begin.
“It’s going to be a minimum of five months before we can start turning dirt,” Smith said. “We hope by this time next year we will be well under construction and you will see a building up.”
The project, which has been under way since 2003, received about $4.3 million in funds from the N.C. General Assembly in 2006 and had been awaiting federal funding before proceeding.
“Since (2006) we’ve been on a priority list and we’ve been competing with other states,” Smith said. “If it hadn’t been for the stimulus money this year we wouldn’t have been funded, we were too low on the priority list.”
The 100-bed, 100,000 square-foot facility will be on Hull Road in Kinston, near the Caswell Developmental Center. About 150 individuals will be employed at the facility.
Smith said the nursing home will feature community setting that will focus on quality of life.
“It’s a unique facility,” Smith said. “It’s going to be built in communities and each room is a single room with a bathroom.”
Sites in Greenville, Jacksonville and New Bern were considered before Kinston was selected as the location for the new veteran’s nursing home. Smith said the decision to base the home in Kinston hinged on proximity.
“In Eastern North Carolina we can serve the most veterans in about a 60 miles radius,” Smith said.
George Graham, chairman of the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners, expressed his excitement about new facility Sunday.
“(This) means being able to serve a population of individuals who have put their lives on the line for the United States of America,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our community to be able to give back.”
Sarah Campbell can be reached at 252-559-1076 or email@example.com