LITTLE ROCK — Nearly three dozen proposals on possible locations for a state new veterans home were submitted by last week’s deadline, the chairwoman of the Arkansas Veterans’ Home Task force said Tuesday.
Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock, said the 34 separate proposals will be reviewed by state Department of Veterans Affairs Director Alicia "Cissy" Rucker and a three-member committee, which present its findings to the full panel at its Aug. 5 meeting.
The task force, which met Tuesday, heard a report from Carol Shockley, director of the state’s Office of Long-Term Care, on nursing home and nursing facilities and trends in long-term care.
Officials who run facilities in Texas and other states also spoke to the task force about their operations, English said.
"They gave us an idea on the kind of configurations they have and where the (Veterans Administration) is heading … and making sure we’re all heading in the same direction," English said.
The 22-member task force was created during this year’s legislative session to help plan for a new veterans home to replace an old facility in Little Rock that was closed last summer after failing building and health code inspections. All of the nearly 70 veterans at the facility were relocated to other nursing home or assisted living facilities.
The panel began meeting monthly in May and hopes to have a recommendation this fall.
Minimum requirements for the new veterans home include being located on a minimum of 20 acres, easy public access and proximity to health care and medical facilities. The deadline for submitting proposals was July 3.
The location also must be accommodating to traffic, must be supported by the community and be close to shops and stores, English said.
During the recent legislative session, lawmakers approved enabling legislation for the new facility, along with $7.5 million in funding. The state’s congressional delegation has expressed optimism that $14 million in federal matching funds will be approved.