Marquette commission gets veterans home update


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Environmental studies on a new veteran’s home site could start as early as August.

The Marquette City Commission received an update about the new facility during its Monday meeting.

Chief Executive Director of Michigan Veterans Homes Anne Zerbe provided updated information to the commission about plans for the new project, which was previously discussed to be built on the former Cliffs-Dow site.

The new complex would replace the current D.J. Jacobetti Veterans Home in Marquette. That structure was built in 1954 and has operated in its current capacity since 1981.

“The building (Jacobetti) is reaching the end of its useful life and it’s just time to start exploring what’s next for what we’re doing here in the city of Marquette,” Zerbe said.

She said the $97.6 million project is fully funded, with $34.2 million appropriated from the state budget. The remaining $63.4 million will come from the federal State Veteran Home Construction Grant program, under which the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with states around the nation.

The current timeline for the new home starts in August, with environmental studies and design of the new building.

The final design, budget and bids for the project will be submitted for final USDVA approval in 2024.

The project is expected to break ground next summer, pending that approval.

She said completion of the project should take place in 2026.

“The other two projects we’ve (Michigan Veteran Homes) already done took about 18-24 months from breaking ground to completion,” Zerbe said. “Marquette is a little different, you have a slightly shorter construction timeframe to work in. The site has some other things that we want to consider, so I’m thinking this is probably going to take more in the 24-to 36-month timeframe. Just to be realistic, it’s going to take a little longer.”

The new single-story facilty will house up to 108 veterans in three distinct “neighborhoods.”

Each neighborhood will consist of two 18-resident homes, featuring private rooms and restrooms with a shared kitchen, dining and living spaces in addition to nursing stations.

The complex would also feature a community center with multipurpose rooms, chapels, cafes, occupational and physical therapy spaces as well as medical and administrative offices.

Earlier in June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the proposed facility reached full funding.

“Michiganders who served our nation in uniform deserve access to safe, affordable housing and I am proud that we have secured funding to build a new veterans home in the (Upper Peninsula),” Whitmer said in a press release. “This new facility will offer quality long-term care for veterans in the (Upper Peninsula) and ensure they get access to the resources they need to thrive. I am grateful to the (Veterans Affairs) and state legislators on both sides of the aisle for their efforts to get this done. Let’s keep working together to support our veterans.”

While the original plan for the project was the former Cliffs-Dow site in Marquette, Zerbe says that other locations are currently being discussed, with one including a land swap agreement with the city, which could see the new home being built at the site of the current Jacobetti home.

“We’ve had a number of different folks approach us about different sites,” Zerbe said. “All of the other sites we’re considering are not in the city of Marquette. There is no acreage that is large enough, so we’re kind of inching out from there into the township and we’ll be looking at some sites in Negaunee Township as well.”

Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 542. His email address is rcrouch@miningjournal.netMarquette commission gets veterans home update


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