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County to form panel on vets' nursing home

February 18, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

County to form panel on vets' nursing home

The Washington County Commissioners said Tuesday that they want to form a committee to search for a site for a veterans home.

Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers made a motion that the commissioners write to the Maryland Veterans Home Commission seeking its support for a Western Maryland veterans home in Washington County.

Bowers said that the county and local veterans should work with the commission to find out what the requirements would be for a new home. The commission must sign off on any new veterans home.

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Nursing home and hospital officials could then help find a site for a veterans home, Bowers said.

The commissioners acted on a request for support from members of the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.

President Ray S. Linebaugh said three three-story dormitories at Fort Ritchie would be an ideal site for a veterans home, along with a dining hall and a health clinic.

Pete Callas, a member of the Joint Veterans Council and a former state delegate, said he'd like the county to support an emergency bill in the General Assembly for a feasibility study for a veterans home. Callas said the local veteran volunteers don't have the expertise to draft a business plan.

Linebaugh and Callas said they are disappointed that the Pen Mar Development Corporation hasn't included a veterans home in plans to redevelop Fort Ritchie.

Development corporation Executive Director Robert Sweeney said Monday that the dormitory buildings will be used by the International Masonry Institute, which is expected to bring 200 jobs to the fort over the next five years.

Sweeney also said he didn't think the fort was a good place for a veterans home because it won't have many needed services available after the base closes Oct. 1.

Bowers said it was premature to say whether Pen Mar would be the right place for a veterans home.

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