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Funding OK'd for vets nursing home

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- The Department of Veterans Affairs is one step closer to finalizing plans to build a nursing home for veterans in Clarksburg.

While federal funding has been in place for several months, one requirement was a local or state match of about $5 million. During the legislative session, a Senate bill was approved that will provide that money. The bill is not yet on Gov. Bob Wise's desk, but Wise spokesman Bill Case said Thursday they expect it any day.

"The governor has been very supportive of this bill and we anticipate that he will sign it when we receive it," Case said.

The news was greeted with much optimism by local and federal officials.

"The positive pluses just keep on coming," Councilman Terry Greaver said Thursday. "For the economically depressed area that people say we are, we just keep growing. It's a great day for the city when a government above us takes an interest and brings economic development like this into the city."

State Sen. Joe Minard, D-Harrison, has said that getting this funding in place was a priority for state legislators during the recent term.

Minard said legislators have been in contact with Department of Veterans Affairs officials in Pittsburgh who have indicated that the agency would be willing to donate property for the home as well as subsidize some of the construction costs.

The state needed to come up with $5 million to match a contribution of $9.5 million from the federal 2001 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill. It was not immediately clear how much money will be available under the Senate bill.

"I'm pleased this is all coming together," Mollohan said Thursday. "We've worked hard on the federal level and I'm pleased to see the state step forward with their end of the funding."

Councilwoman Becky Lake said the city was fortunate to have state legislators committed to bringing a worthwhile project like the nursing home to Clarksburg.

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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