LITTLE ROCK — The director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday selected a site in North Little Rock as the location for a proposed new state veterans home.
The Arkansas Veterans Commission recommended the site in January. The location consists of about 34 acres of federally owned land now used as a city-operated nine-hole golf course at the Fort Roots military post.
"This was a difficult selection process, as many communities submitted worthy sites for the new veterans home," Gov. Mike Beebe said in a news release. "Director (Cissy) Rucker and her team worked diligently and fairly through this process, and I’m confident that their selection of North Little Rock will provide the setting and care our veterans deserve."
The Legislature last year approved $7.5 million in state funding for the $22 million project to replace the old veterans home in Little Rock that was closed in 2012 after failing building and health inspections. The state applied for about $13.9 million in matching federal funds to build the facility, and verification of funding was received Monday.
The Veterans Commission and the Arkansas Veterans Home Task Force reviewed more than 30 locations for the proposed new home. The commission said Tuesday the advantages of the North Little Rock location include access to a workforce of more than 200,000, immediate access to the Eugene Towbin Veterans Healthcare Center and the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital, access to the Vet Center, an existing utilities infrastructure and access to interstate highways.
"We are excited about this project, as the central Arkansas location will give access to the largest number of veterans and families within the state," Rucker said.
The site must be transferred from Veterans Administration ownership to the state. There is no immediate time line for the transfer, the commission said.
Stanley, Polk, Wilcox Architects has been selected as the design team, and work is under way to design the structure. Bidding for the contractor will open later this year.