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Task Force Narrows Veterans Home to 4 Cities

A legislative task force announced Monday four cities have been selected as potential locations for a new state veterans home.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A legislative task force announced Monday four cities have been selected as potential locations for a new state veterans home.

State senator Jane English, R - North Little Rock, says the cities of Benton, Jacksonville, Russellville and Fort Smith were selected by a panel of three members from the task force.

"I think they're all reasonably located," English says.  "Fort Smith might be a little far, but you never know."

The task force was created during the legislative session after the veterans home in Little Rock was shut down in July 2012.

The Department of Veterans Affairs state director Alicia "Cissy" Rucker says the goal is to find a location appropriate for the type of veteran that would utilize the facility.

Rucker says the task force still has to come up with a design for the building.  That design will be dictated on whether the facility will offer services for PTSD or traumatic brain injury, ailments found in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The bottom line also has to be, it's a business," Rucker says.  "It's an economic project and it has to pay for itself in order for it to be sustaining."

The potential location in Saline County is described as being near the Arkansas Health Center in Haskell.

The Jacksonville location would be along General Samuels Road, just southwest of the Little Rock Air Force Base.

The state currently operates one veterans home in Fayetteville.

Task force members will tour two of the potential sites on August 19th and two others on August 21st.

Recommendations from the task force on location and style of veterans home are due October 31st.

The committee meets again on September 12th.
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