Veterans Village front view

Artistic rendering of Veterans Village front view

The proposed Veterans Village of Citrus County meant to provide affordable, assisting-living apartments to veterans is at least nine months delayed.

That was the report by Dr. William Dixon to the Citrus County Hospital Board, which last year donated $2.5 million to the project. Dixon is the Veterans Village board president.

In a letter to the hospital board, Dixon explained that there were several factors that are contributing to the delay as well as a potential $1.3 million additional cost to the project. The original cost of the project was $10.2 million for the 100 apartment complex adjacent to the U.S. Veterans Affairs Lecanto Clinic on West Marc Knighton Court off County Road 491.

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Dixon told the hospital board in his May 24 letter that there were site plan delays when the Veterans Village board learned that there was drainage runoff from the Black Diamond Ranch into a pond on the Veterans Village property, Dixon explained the pond had to be increased in size to accommodate the runoff.

The rising prices of construction materials is also creating a problem, he said.

“We have a tentative loan commitment from Renaissance Bank pending U.S. Department of Agriculture approval. All of the paperwork has been submitted to and approved by the USDA office,” Dixon wrote. “(But) they require a contract with cost numbers from a building contractor. We’re having some difficulty getting a (price) commitment because the prices and labor are increasing so rapidly.”

The increased prices for materials and labor has pushed up the price of the project $1.3 million.

“This will require a fundraising effort in the immediate future to obtain what we will need to complete the project,” he said.

According to the Veterans Village board meeting minutes, the project is making some progress, though.

Blueprints for the project are complete and the geotech survey has shown the ground is suitable for construction.

The site plan is being revised to accommodate the additional runoff and a construction management company was hired to create a cost estimate.

The local Gainesville USDA office approved the project’s feasibility study.      

Dixon previously told the hospital board that the average cost for assisted-living facilities in the area was $3,500 per month. The proposed Veterans Village would offer small apartments for veterans and their spouse for $2,054 per month. The cost for veterans alone would be $1,732 per month.

Given the need for the additional $1.3 million and awaiting the USDA approval and funding for a bank loan, there is currently no expectant date for completion of the project.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.