Hillsborough County Officials recently gathered to take part in a long-awaited and much anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for a new Veterans Resource Center.

As a one-stop shop and new home for the County’s Consumer and Veterans Services, the $1.8 million facility will be built at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, 3602 N. U.S. Hwy. 301 in Tampa.

Construction of the 8,000 sq. ft. center is scheduled to be completed in summer 2017, and will include a multi-purpose room for uses such as training and special events.

As funds become available, future plans call for a 14,000 to 16,000 sq. ft. addition for educational use and museum exhibits.

The project is funded by $300,000 in County Capital Improvement Program funds and a $1.5 million grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which was spearheaded by Florida State Senator, Tom Lee.

The ceremony gave plenty of opportunity to County leadership and Veterans Services representatives to praise the project as well as the generosity and the cooperation between those involved.

“The new services center is the result of a unified effort by our local Veterans, Veteran advocates, Hillsborough County government and the State of Florida,” said Assistant Hillsborough County Administrator, Dexter Barge.

Barge drew special attention to the need for the new facility as it will serve the approximately 93,000 veterans now living in Hillsborough County–the second-highest veteran population in Florida, soon to become the first according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“When it’s completed, the new facility will offer services for local veterans, their dependents, and survivors in accessing federal, state, and local benefits,” Barge said.

Boasting of the future addition to an already impressive Park, Veteran Memorial Park and Museum Committee Chairman, Tom Aderhold, said, “I am humbled to be a part of this project and by everyone’s hard work. This beautiful park is here to educate families and host patriotic events. It has become a regional, state and a National destination. It will now become the epicenter of resource for all veterans and their families.”

Plans for the new center began nearly a decade ago and is a part of a master plan developed by local veterans and County officials and, includes striking memorials and tributes to wars fought as well as local soldiers fallen.

“Our veterans deserve to be honored and served,” County Commissioner Stacy White said. “This Park and the new resource center is here to serve those that served our country. It is a model for the nation.”

Veterans Memorial Park also includes the Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum. For more information about the project, visit HCFLGov.net/CountyProjects under the County Building Projects link.

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