Governor Says Vets Home Bids Stronger Than Expected


With a decision on a new veterans home looming, Governor Dave Heineman visits the current home, where he says it's going to be difficult to choose a site, maybe more difficult than he thought.

If there's a favorite or favorites, he's not saying. And the multimillion dollar bids from each city may have made his decision more difficult.

With Gov. Heineman at the home to kick off a campaign encouraging state employees to donate to charity, he was stopped by Jose Trejo, a member of the Veterans Home.

"I told Jose, we got four great communities who've given us four outstanding bids, who are pro–Grand Island, pro–Kearney, pro–North Platte, pro–Hastings. Not one has said a bad word about any other bids, totally focused on what can we do for veterans," Heineman said.

The three–person site selection committee may have a recommendation in the next two to four weeks. The governor will make the final call.

He said, "I know at the end of the day we're going to make one community happy and three slightly disappointed but this is a good challenge."

It may have been made more difficult by the dollars offered up.

Heineman said, "The bids are stronger than we ever envisioned. It's going to be a difficult choice."

Some lawmakers said it sets up an arms race between neighboring cities. The governor appears to have no regrets about the process.

"We've tried to develop a very fair process and I think that's what we have. I've talked to four mayors, four senators involved and I think everyone can say it's fair," he said.

Jose has been forced to share a room and says elevators are unreliable at the aging home.

That's why he previously said a new home was an answer to prayer, pointing to the page in his prayer journal.

"We pray for the governor and unicameral," Trejo said.

Jose now tells the governor he wants a room in the new home.

Heineman said, "Jose told me it'll all work out for the best for all of us."

The governor also commended the staff at the home, for a perfect score on a recent assessment.