Last Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs announced that none of the Veterans Home Projects in Minnesota would receive federal funding for this year. The homes are set to be located in Montevideo, Bemidji, and Preston.

Last Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs announced that none of the Veterans Home Projects in Minnesota would receive federal funding for this year. The homes are set to be located in Montevideo, Bemidji, and Preston.

Marvin Garbe, Chairman of the Montevideo Veterans Home Committee, was disappointed at the announcement. “I try to stay optimistic all the time, but after working on this for the past 10 or11 years, it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

Even though the projects were not approved this year, they can go through the selection process again next year. Garbe said: “The state will re-submit our application next year. Everything is still approved locally and at the state level.”

Garbe did mention that the state would have to approach the City of Montevideo to extend the purchase agreement on the land. “I can’t see any problem with that as it’s been previously approved,” he said.

Despite this setback, Garbe continues to be optimistic. He said: “As long as we are on the list, we’ll keep moving up the list. As it stands, the Minnesota Veterans Homes are at 39, 40, and 41 on the list.”

State Rep. Tim Miller, who has been a fervent supporter of the Montevideo Veterans Home Project (along with State Sen. Andrew Lang) was equally disappointed. “Of course, I was hoping the funding would go through, but it’s a process. I am, however, confident that these projects will be funded sooner rather than later. These are good projects, and they are high on the list at the federal level,” he said.

Like Garbe, Miller is optimistic for the project when it comes up for review next year: “What I’d like to tell our veterans,” he said “is that it took nearly 12 years to get the state to approve it. It will not take nearly that long to get this approved at the federal level.”

Robert Wolfington, City Manager of Montevideo, was also disappointed by the news. He said: “From the city’s standpoint, we’re disappointed, but we remain optimistic as well. I spoke with Minnesota VA Commissioner Larry Herke yesterday, and he let us know that he will be re-submitting the proposal. Based on my understanding, we were right at the cutoff point so I’m optimistic about the next funding round.”

Commissioner Larry Herke explained the process going forward: “We will reapply to the federal government in order to keep our application place on the list. We are actually in a better position on the priority list.”

Herke said that the Montevideo Veterans Home project had been at number 51, but has now been moved up to 40. “We have a much better chance of being selected next year based on that position alone,” he said.

Herke did temper that statement by noting the challenges these projects are facing. He said: “Different health and safety issues and renovations which are needed at many existing facilities always come first, so we have to keep that in mind as we move forward.”

Herke hopes veterans aren’t too disappointed in this outcome. “The main thing to take away from this is that we are still on the list, and we have moved up on that list.”

Herke added that when the projects are re-submitted, the state will be asking for a 10 percent increase in funding to cover increased costs associated with a year’s delay. “My intent is to add back some of the things which had to be removed from the project due to the projected cost overruns of the project’s original budget.”

In the end, things may work out even better for the Montevideo Veterans Home.