New $20 million veterans home in high demand - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New $20 million veterans home in high demand


Chippewa Falls (WQOW)- A $20 million veterans home in Chippewa Falls is just weeks away from opening.  After years of hard work, a dream has become a reality. 

On Thursday in Chippewa Falls, hundreds attended the dedication of Wisconsin's newest veteran's home.

The new veteran's home will be a 72-bedroom facility, which sounds big, but there have already been more than 200 requests from people trying to live here.  Governor Walker spoke at the event. 

"They think this can be a model for the rest of the country," the governor explains.  "Federal funds combined with state building funds built this structure.  While it's owned by the state, it will be operated through a partnership with the private sector so that we can get the best of quality care from the private sector combined with the strength of being able to build this at a lower cost through the public sector."

This is the third veteran's home in Wisconsin run by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.  The other two are located in King and Union Grove. 

"This home is really important because it closes a loop in about a 225-mile gap for our veterans in this state," points out WDVA Secretary John Scocos.  "So we are not only covering our northern veterans and all their needs, but we are also looking at the center of Wisconsin too."

One of the buildings has been named after a former lawmaker who helped to get the project off the ground floor; former Wisconsin Senator and Vietnam veteran Dave Zien.

"When it first was unveiled, all I could think of is the men in my unit, the marines that were killed on October 9th, 1969 and all the people on the Vietnam Veteran's Wall," Zien says.  "So many people deserve to be remembered."

Veterans will start moving into the new facility the first week of February and officials say this is just one way to thank those who spent their lives defending us.

A federal grant paid for about $12 million of the $20 million project.  The rest was paid for by the state.  Anyone interested in checking out the veteran's home can attend an open house on Friday that runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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