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Preston to welcome veteran housing after 7 years of hard work

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PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday that $33 million has been granted to the state to build housing for veterans.

In 2018, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $33 million toward the cost of the projects. The funding plan is a combination of federal-granted, state-bonded and community-provided funds.

“As a veteran myself, I recognize the obligation we have as a state and a country to deliver on the benefits our veterans have earned,” Gov. Walz said in a news release. “We are pleased to be able to expand our State Veterans Homes into three new communities to serve our elderly veterans living in all corners on the state.”

The locations for the housing will be in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston. Each location will have its own theme. Bemidji will have an cabin theme. Montevideo will be have a prairie-feel, and Preston's housing will be on a hilltop. The Preston housing will be located on the north side of the city, close to the intersections of State Highway 16 and US Highway 52.

The Bemidji and Montevideo locations will house 72 beds, and Preston will have 54.

Preston City Administrator Joe Hoffman said it's taken seven years of hard work from citizens and state leaders to make this project a reality. He said learning about the funding felt like Christmas morning.

"There are no veterans homes or skilled nursing homes in southeastern Minnesota," Hoffman said. "I think about one-third of the veterans in Minnesota live in southeastern Minnesota. So, right now, if a veteran wants to go to a home, they have to go to Minneapolis. It's a great home in Minneapolis, but many veterans want to stay right here."

Hoffman said many local veterans were instrumental in making this project happen.

Construction is expected to start in fall 2021. Hoffman said the home will also create 80 new jobs.

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Megan Zemple

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