With gold shovels in hand, local veterans and dignitaries celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Veterans Education & Cultural Center.

Veterans and their families will find a plethora of new opportunities as phase two of development of the Hillsborough County Veterans Resource Center is underway, bringing the new Veterans Education & Cultural Center to the site.

A groundbreaking ceremony in mid-January, featuring local veterans and dignitaries, kicked off construction, which is expected to be complete by August.

Phase two of development, made possible by a $1.6 million grant from Governor Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida, will add the 4,000 sq. ft. Veterans Education & Cultural Center, featuring a theater-style classroom and state-of-the-art displays connecting visitors to Hillsborough County’s distinct participation in our nation’s military.

“This truly is a collaborative effort,” stated Deputy County Administrator Greg Horwedel as he recognized county commissioners and government officials in attendance.

The Veterans Resource Center, open since 2017, is already known as a one-stop shop serving veterans, their dependents and their survivors in accessing federal, state and local benefits at no charge.

District 4 County Commissioner Michael Owen noted that there are more 96,000 veterans in Hillsborough County, more than any other area of Florida and a majority of those veterans reside in District 4, which encompasses most of Riverview, FishHawk, Apollo Beach and Sun City Center.

“This is using our tax dollars wisely,” remarked Owen.

Frank Strom, Consumer and Veterans Services director, noted that other projects are in the works at the Veterans Resource Center to bring it to the next level. Plans include revamping the museum, building a meditation garden and erecting a 150 ft. flagpole.

Veterans Council representative Tom Fletcher looks forward to opening the doors to educate present and future generations.

“It is amazing what can be done when the community works together,” he said.

The Veterans Resource Center is located on the grounds of Veterans Memorial Park and the Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum at 3602 U.S. 301 N. Its hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Park hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Veterans may call 813-635-8316 for assistance.

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