Preston Veterans Home about 10% complete

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Soon veterans will be able to call Preston home with the new state veterans home being built in town.

"Seeing it come together on top of the hill is just so exciting," Preston Economic Development and Tourism Director, Gabby Kinneberg said.

The home’s construction is coming along smoothly thanks to a mild fall and winter.

"We have been able to get a lot further along on construction than originally anticipated," Preston Veterans Home Project Executive, Derek O’Connor said.

The $10.2 million project will consist of three households with 18 rooms in each building.

"The city of Preston really has been just helping with a little bit of the infrastructure needs of the construction crew, but also we are still taking donations at city hall and just helping keep the community updated on the progress," Kinneberg said.

Due to budget constraints, some things were not included in the $10.2 million, so the city is asking the legislature for another $6.7 million for things they want to include.

"A separate entrance, a transfer garage, some of the outdoor amenities, an overhang on the entrance of the building so some pretty important things we feel that could be added back in," Kinneberg said.

The city is working with local legislators like Greg Davids and Jeremy Miller to hopefully use bonding dollars to add those features back.

The home is about 10% complete. All the footings and foundation are in and about 20% of slab is poured.

The construction process has not been easy, the supply chain has caused material hiccups causing Knutson Construction to find alternate routes.

"Planning far enough ahead into the fall, fall of 2022 what we need for then to make sure that material is ordered now.," O’Connor said.

That also means planning for who will work in the home. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is already making sure people know jobs will be open.

"It’s a 100 new jobs coming into Preston and Fillmore County specifically so we are hoping we can recapture some of the healthcare workers that are commuting currently," Kinneberg said.

And it will hopefully help the small town economically too, like for local shops like Preston Floral and Gift.

"I am hopeful that it will bring people in but that is not why we are excited for it to come to the community. But we are glad to be here for when people do come here and do need us," Owner of Preston Floral and Gift Ashley LeFleur said.

This also means a lot to O’Connor. He served in the Army Reserve for eight years and lives in Preston.

"A great feeling to it that you are able to build something that I could possibly use in the future but also to give back to my local community," O’Connor said.

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz released his 2022 bonding proposals recommending an additional $10.329 million for the three homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston.

That would need to make it through the legislature during this upcoming session.

You can follow the work on the Preston Veterans Home through the water tower camera here.

The home is expected to be finished by March 2023.