Veterans home expected to bring in revenue

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2002


RESERVE – St. John the Baptist Parish will benefit from the construction and operation of the new veterans home in Reserve. But community benefits may be slow in coming, said David Perkins, Deputy Director Veterans Affairs.

No date has been set for ground breaking or construction and officials believe it could still be months in planning.

St. John the Baptist Parish was awarded the veterans home last October.

In August, the Parish Council authorized the donation of parish property in Reserve to the state for the construction of the veterans home.

The parish administration added special language to the Act of Donation in August to prevent misuse of the donated property. The language specified that the land will be used only for the construction of the VA home. It also states that the property must be used within ten years or it will be reverted back to the parish.

Nearly one year after the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to bring the veterans home to St. John Parish, VA officials say the project is still in the preliminary planning stage.

Deputy Director David Perkins said he cannot predict when the project will move into the next phase of development.

“What I can tell you is that $100,000 has been bonded for site preparation,” Perkins said. “The $100,000 can only be used to prepare the land. Site preparation includes things like environmental assessment.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs have requested matching funds from the government.

“We cannot bring an architect on board until we have additional funding,” Perkins said.

The multimillion dollar veterans home is expected to bring in between $17 and $18 million in construction costs when building begins. An additional $8 million per year is expected in salaries, supplies and other operating costs. The home will be built near Regala Park in Reserve.

Parish officials said the new facility will provide jobs for skilled St. John Parish residents and will bring more visitors, and purchasing power, into the parish.