Gov. Scott, state Cabinet approve St. Lucie County for new VA nursing home
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet unanimously approved St. Lucie County on Tuesday as the site for the state’s seventh veteran’s nursing home.
“Every cabinet member up here cares about our veterans and we’re here today because people in uniform defended us,” Scott said.
The St. Lucie County-owned property garnered the best ratings from a nine-member Florida Department of Veterans Affairs site selection committee going into the cabinet meeting. Tradition’s proximity to highways and hospitals, along with its many amenities and highly skilled workforce, propelled the 28.5-acre site in the area to the top of the state’s list.
State and local officials who spoke in support of the facility at the Tallahassee meeting included Port St. Lucie Assistant City Manager Daniel Holbrook, St. Lucie County Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson, state Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie and state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart.
“With your vote today in favor of awarding St. Lucie County as the states’s next veterans nursing home, you’ll join in saying the most precious words military personnel want to hear, ‘Welcome back home and welcome back to St. Lucie County,’” Hutchinson said.
The proposed facility would serve an area encompassing all of St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee and Highlands counties — as well as portions of Palm Beach, Brevard, Glades, Polk, Hendry and Osceola counties. The region includes an estimated 211,647 veterans.
The center of the state — including Port St. Lucie and the Treasure Coast — is underserved by the six existing VA nursing homes. The nearest long-term care facilities for veterans are in Daytona Beach, Pembroke Pines and Port Charlotte — all of which are beyond the preferred 75-mile radius for such facilities.
The size of the facility will be dictated by the actual chosen site, so it has yet to be determined, Veterans Affairs officials said. The facility will be single-occupancy rooms. Construction costs also have not yet been determined.