GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Construction is beginning on the new Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Friday afternoon and featured state and local dignitaries like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Winnie Brinks and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

The new home will replace aging facilities on the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans campus and is part of Michigan’s state-wide commitment to modernize long-term care for military veterans.

"People that serve our country should come home and have job opportunities and educational opportunities for their kids and when they need care, a place to go that is worthy of them," Whitmer said.

The 128-bed facility on the corner of Monroe Avenue and Three Mile Road will have a “home-like” feel and represents a nearly $63 million combined investment of expected to be completed in Spring of 2021.

"This new facility is really a testament to the state's investment for better care for our veterans," Brinks said.

The MVAA noted about 53 percent of Michigan's 589,300 veterans are age 65 and older, compared to 47 percent nationally, which raises the need for medical expansion and specialized care.

The home will feature single-story buildings arranged in a neighborhood setting, with a private bedroom and bathroom for each resident.

The building is part of a commitment by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) and the Michigan Veterans' Facility Authority (MVFA) to increase the number of care facilities for veterans and their spouses in Michigan. Friday's event comes on the heels of a groundbreaking last fall for a new veterans home in Macomb County.

The State of Michigan provided about $49 million for both facilities and and the federal government invested nearly $87 million.

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