PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- State leaders are coming closer to making a final decision of where they will build a new, state-run 120- bed veteran's nursing home.
Eight counties are in the running, and St. Lucie County leaders are making a final push to try to get at the top of the selection list.
Next week, St. Lucie County Comissioner, Frannie Hutchinson, says a state site-selection committee will release an official ranking of the counties being considered to receive a veteran's nursing home.
County leaders have drafted a letter to send to nearby cities and counties, asking for their support. But, Hutchinson says if they really want to come out on top, they need more public input.
Hutchinson says the nearest veteran's nursing homes are far from the Treasure Coast. She says the closest to the south is in Pembroke Pines, and Daytona Beach to the north.
"You know, those are some of your last days unfortunately in many cases, and you want to be where your friends and family can come visit," Hutchinson said.
The selection committee will give its recommendations to Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs Executive Director, Col. Mike Prendergast, next week. Prendergast will then make his final recommendation to the governor and his cabinet.
They are expected to make a final decision on Aug. 19.
Local veterans say it's needed in the area.
"This is something I feel very strongly that we need to do for our vets," said veteran, Daryl Bowie.
"When they come home, they should be well compensated for and have something that they need," said veteran, Louis Romano.
Hutchinson says a nearly 28-acre area of land has been secured for the facility in Tradition.
She says the county has also met other requirements, such as quick access to hospitals, treatment, transportation and entertainment.
Hutchinson says residents interested in supporting this project are asked to contact: Col. Mike Prendergast, executive director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 11351 Ulmerton Road, No. 311-K, Largo, FL 33778-1630; 727-518-3202.
Or Gov. Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
You can also contact her office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org