By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County officials, along with the County’s Division of Veterans Affairs, are currently working to donate county-owned land to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs for a new 120-bed nursing home.
To discuss the effort with area residents, as well as review the proposed locations and answer questions, representatives with the County Real Estate and Facilities Services Department and the VA held a public meeting last month at the Brandon Regional Service Center 311 Pauls Dr. in Brandon.
Frank Strom with the Hillsborough County Veterans Affairs Office explained that two existing county parcels, each 20 acres, are being considered.
The SouthShore area parcel adjoins a Public Utilities Department maintenance unit located at 10707 Rhodine Rd. in Riverview.
The other parcel is located at 12239 Old Morris Bridge Rd. southeast of the Interstate 75 and Fletcher Ave. interchange.
The construction will be covered by 65 percent federal and 35 percent state funds, and is slated for completion by spring of 2015 with a second nursing home, both strictly for veterans, to be built the following year.
Currently there are seven nursing homes in Florida with four more planned giving Hillsborough County a good chance to house one of the next homes.
Strom said that so far eight Florida counties have submitted applications to be selected by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, with Hillsborough County being the second highest on the list based on its veteran population.
“With 94,000 veterans currently in Hillsborough County we are the best candidates for a nursing home,” Strom said. “We have a veteran-friendly county, and this is the right thing to do. We owe it to our vets.”
The new nursing home will be a state-run facility promising 170 jobs. If chosen by the state, Hillsborough will prepare the 20-acre property and pick up the infrastructure preparation cost associated with the project.
Eric Watson with the County Real Estate and Facilities Services said the department is now gathering the necessary input including cost and residents comments before one of the two sites can be presented to the Board of County Commission on Wednesday, May 7.
“The board will then decide which of the two locations are best suited for the project and best serve our veterans,” Watson said.
For more information about the new nursing home, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.