VIRGINIA BEACH — A state-funded care facility for Hampton Roads veterans could break ground next to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, but it needs city council to transfer 26 acres of property to the state before it moves forward.
Economic Development Director Warren Harris gave an update on the Hampton Roads Veterans Care Center to city council at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.
“We have well over 200,000 veterans living in Hampton Roads, so it’s a facility that’s not only much needed, but it’s a way to really, in my opinion, show respect and help our veterans providing them with the latest, state-of-the-art health care services,” Harris said.
Virginia Beach is one of two areas in the Commonwealth to get a state-funded facility for veterans, the other being in northern Virginia. It could open in late 2019, next to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, according to Harris’ presentation to council.
The 121,000-square-foot facility plans to feature 120 beds, separated into 12 ten-bed homes to give its residential facilities a “home-like” atmosphere. It will also focus on long-term care dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease and memory care, as well as short-term services like rehabilitation which would create 150 jobs for nurses, dietitians and more, according to the presentation.
“They’re really going to give a higher quality of life, if you will, to the veterans,” Harris said of the neighborhood-style residential layout.
The facility is scheduled to break ground in October, but first it needs city council to pass a resolution to transfer 26 acres of city-owned property to the state. Council voted in 2015 to give the project 15 to 25 acres of land, according to the presentation.
The care center is planned to open off Nimmo Parkway, which would require an extension from West Neck Road to give people access to the facility. The city recommends building a a two-lane roadway at the facility’s entrance for $2.2 million, according to Phillip Pullen, Virginia Beach’s transportation division manager.
According to Pullen, the city has $250,000 budgeted for this project, but would need an additional $1.95 million in its capital improvement program budget to support city staff’s recommendation.
Pullen said roadwork could finish by early 2019, if the project is approved.
“[Department of Veteran Services] submitted an application for federal grant funding back in 2005, and we have been waiting for the federal government to sort of get their rear in gear for over 10 years for this,” deputy commissioner of veteran services Steven Combs said.
“Just in the last year, between the Commonwealth and the city of Virginia Beach, we have gone from just thinking about it 10 years in the future, to think about this breaking ground this year and having this online in under three years.”
A public information meeting regarding the care center is scheduled for Monday, March 13 at Kellam High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m.