GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The new Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is finally finished after two years of construction and $62 million of investment. Funding sources include the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs State Home Construction Grant Program, which contributed $40.9 million, and the state of Michigan, which covered the remaining $22 million.
The new home off of Monroe Avenue sits on the same property as the original Home for Veterans. The two buildings are next to each other. Due to the immense cost of repairs and other renovations to bring it up to regulatory standard, it was cheaper to construct an entirely new building.
The facility will house 128 veterans and dependents. The first of the residents to move will start transitioning into the home next week and others will move in gradually.
"We're very excited to be welcoming the community in today to see this home prior to the first residents moving in on Monday. So we'll be welcoming the first eight residents and really just highlighting to the community and everyone around what this milestone represents. It's a culmination of many years of hard work and labor and investment by both the state and federal government, a lot of local stakeholders," said Fred Schaible, deputy director of engagements for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The building is designed to have a more "home-life" feel rather than the old building that had been built more like a hospital or clinic setting. Each resident will have their own private room, whereas before they would share a room with at least one other resident at the facility.
Services that will be provided will include behavioral, occupational, physical and group therapy, an exam room, chapel, barbershop and salon, café bistro and gift shop. Residents will also have access to outdoor courtyards that will allow them to observe the natural surroundings the campus has to offer.
Courtney Waldo from the Sparta area had the chance to tour the facility her father, a veteran who served during Vietnam on an aircraft carrier for the Navy, will move into in the coming weeks.
"It’s beautiful. This is absolutely gorgeous, like, me and my sister are so excited. What a wonderful facility for the veteran community," said Waldo. "So we're very excited about the physical therapy that they're going to be doing with him too. We hope that helps with his balance and the memory care."
There are still discussions about what to do with the original facility, but at this time, it is not expected to be demolished.