Groundbreaking held for vet home
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005
By LEONARD GRAY
RESERVE – Brigadier General Hunt Downer led the festivities Friday at the ground breaking for the new War Veterans Home. a $17 million project, hard fought for by local officials and veterans.
The project is estimated to take 16-18 months to build and generate 200 jobs.
“St. John Parish had a secret weapon – our veterans,” commented Parish President Nickie Monica, who praised their efforts to bring the project to the Reserve site, as he pointed out the common sense to centralize the location between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Lester Firman of American Legion Post 3537, likewise thanked the efforts of Economic Development Director Julia Remondet and Joey “Big Indian” Strickland of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
Rep. Bobby Faucheux likewise praised his fellow legislators, especially Rep. Roy Quezaire and Gary Smith, for their support.
The new facility, when completed, will be 93,000 square feet and include 39 intermediate care beds, 39 acute care beds, 31 self help beds, 47 mentally impaired beds, for a total of 156 beds.
Funding is 65 percent federal and 35 percent state, built on 25 acres donated by St. John the Baptist Parish.
Architects for the new War Veterans Home is Guidry Beazley of Lafayette, and the general contractor is Hearns Construction Company.