St. Paul, (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Senate Veterans Committee today approved a bill that would provide additional funding for the new construction projects at the veterans’ homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo.

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According to a news release, the bill provides $6.9 million to the Preston home, $4.35 million for the Bemidji home, and $5.27 million to the Montevideo home for the design, construction, and equipping site and building improvements that were not funded through the initial appropriation.

“The state’s three new veterans homes are going to enable us to provide well-deserved care to more veterans, and that is fantastic news,” Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said. “We have a duty to provide the highest level of care that we can to those who answered the nation’s call. This bill will allow us to fulfill our commitment to Minnesota’s veterans.”

“I am grateful for the engagement from local officials from the city of Preston, Fillmore County, veterans groups, and countless volunteers who continue to make sure we are supporting as many people as we can,” Miller added. “And a special thank you to Fillmore County Veterans Service Officer Jason Marquardt for driving up to St. Paul to testify on this important bill. This bipartisan effort is a wonderful way to honor our veterans and their families.”

Senator Miller and Fillmore County Veterans Services Officer Jason Marquardt testify on behalf of the bill
Senator Miller and Fillmore County Veterans Services Officer Jason Marquardt testify on behalf of the bill

The legislature originally approved funding for three new veterans’ homes in Preston, Montevideo, and Bemidji in the 2018 bonding bill. The federal government authorized nearly $80 million in funding for its share of the projects in March of 2021, but due to the gap in the timeline, certain important projects had to be removed in order to meet the original budget. Miller said that this bill would allow those projects to be completed.

Groundbreaking for the Preston home took place in August of 2021, and it is slated to open in the summer of 2023.

The bill will next receive a hearing in the Senate’s Finance Committee.

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