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Groundbreaking ceremony held for new Arkansas veterans home, building to start soon


NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Construction will soon begin on the anticipated $24 million state-run veterans home in North Little Rock after a groundbreaking ceremony was held this week.

Workers have prepared the site and will begin erecting structures for the Central Arkansas Veterans Home, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1JTIwJv ) reported. The assisted-living complex will have eight 10,000-square-foot residences that together will house 96 veterans and eligible dependents.

At the Wednesday ceremony, Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized state Sen. Jane English and former state Rep. John Edwards for introducing legislation in 2013 to advance the building of the new veterans home.

"This occasion is important for our state," Hutchinson said. "It is a tangible, concrete step that our state is taking for our veterans."

Lawmakers started making plans for a new one in 2012, after learning the Little Rock Veterans Home was in disrepair and would cost around $10 million for renovation work. That home, located since 1980 in a long-closed school for the blind, closed in June 2012.

The new complex is being built on a 31-acre site on what used to the Emerald Park Golf Course in North Little Rock. It will be the second state-run veterans home in Arkansas. The Fayetteville Veterans Home is located in an annex and the top two floors of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Northwest Arkansas campus.

Around $7.5 million in state funds and a $15.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is funding the latest project. The remaining amount, about $900,000, was collected through donations to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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