Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : City Placed on Veterans Home List


A state commission Thursday named Lancaster and two other Southern California cities as possible sites for $30-million, 400-bed veterans homes.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs Governor's Commission on a Southern California Veterans Home named Lancaster, Chula Vista and Perris as primary locations. It is not certain if any or all of the homes will be built.

Although Lancaster officials lauded the commission's recommendation and the "creation of jobs," the home is anything but certain.

"Nothing's guaranteed at this point," said Mary McCarthy, economic development director for the city of Perris. McCarthy attended the commission meeting Thursday in Perris. "Funding's not guaranteed for any of this."

If the veterans home is built in Lancaster, it is estimated that it will bring $30 million in construction spending. Long-term benefits include 230 permanent jobs and an annual payroll of $9 million.

The high desert is home to about 12,000 veterans and retired military members.

The 12-member commission by July 1 will make its formal recommendations on the veterans homes to the state Legislature and governor. If they agree on the locations, each city must work out the details of building the facility.

Gov. Pete Wilson last fall authorized a bill to allow construction of a $31-million veterans home in Barstow. The 400-bed facility, in the design stage, will precede the other homes.

The state requires, at the minimum, that each city provide a 20-acre site for the facility, which would have 220 units, 120 assisted-care beds and 60 full-time care beds.

Lancaster is offering a 20-acre site at Avenue I and 30th Street West. In addition, the city would loan the state the money to build the facility.

The federal government will pay 65% of the construction costs and 35% of the annual operating costs, McCarthy said. The state must pay the remainder of construction and operating expenses.

The commission also selected three secondary sites. Sepulveda was named as the alternative site in the Los Angeles area; Brawley was named in the San Diego area; and the University of California at Irvine in the Inland Empire region.

About 15 cities were vying for the three veterans homes.

Times staff writer John Chandler contributed to this story.

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