Find out if vets home needed in north
April 4, 2003
Lawmakers should be questioning the problems which accompanied the opening of a veterans home in Southern Nevada, but they need not hold those issues against the idea of opening a home in Northern Nevada.
State Veterans Service Administrator Chuck Fulkerson has asked for $50,000 for a study on the need for a veterans home in this part of the state. His request opened the door to critics in the Legislature of the job the agency has been doing in Boulder City.
Assemblyman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, called it a “black hole” with complaints of unsanitary and unsafe conditions. The home opened last August more than a year behind schedule and $1 million over budget.
The skeptics have plenty of ammunition for holding Fulkerson and his staff accountable, despite assurances most of the problems are behind them.
With that said, however, the Legislature should be considering the feasibility of a Northern Nevada home in the context of whether it can provide needed services to veterans and how much it might cost.
Those are exactly the issues a study would address. Leasing space in Carson-Tahoe Hospital’s building after it moves to a new medical center could eliminate the whole mess created by constructing a new building in Boulder City.
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The sheer number of veterans in Northern Nevada and nearby California counties — upwards of 90,000 — indicates a sizable potential pool of residents. Nursing homes are generally tight on space regardless of the population.
Fumbling one project shouldn’t mean Veterans Services never gets a chance at another, if lawmakers can be convinced there is a legitimate need to be filled at a reasonable cost.