Hillsborough Co. Veterans Resource Center to receive $825,000 for educational space

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The Hillsborough County Veterans Resource Center is set to receive $825,000 for its Phase II expansion with funding from the Senate’s “sprinkling list.”

The money will fund a 4,621 square foot expansion of the facility for educational space. The resource center, which is on the grounds of the county’s Veterans Memorial Park & ​​Museum, offers veterans and their families free assistance in accessing federal, state and local benefits, as well as a plethora of resources additional.

Funding for the expansion was detailed in an appropriations request filed by the senator. Dany Burgess, an Army Reserve officer who previously headed the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. The request was originally for $1.65 million, which would have been the bulk of the project.

According to the application, the facility would use the funding to add approximately 3,800 square feet of open-floor gallery space and an additional 800 square feet for an office, data room, and utility rooms.

The expansion would be used as an educational space, as requested, to provide educational programs and exhibits to students and community residents.

“The Veterans Resource Education Center will increase knowledge about military and family contributions to all of our nation’s military historical events,” the application reads.

The proposed educational center is expected to generate a significant number of visits from residents and tourists from the Tampa Bay area, the application states.

Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park sees nearly 100,000 visitors a year, depending on demand. The Bureau of Veterans Services serves approximately 38,000 veterans and their families each year. The existing Phase 1 Veteran Resource Center & Memorial Park has been named by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Veterans Day Committee, for the fifth year, as a regional destination.

The park offers veterans assistance from accredited Hillsborough County and Florida Division of Veterans Affairs service agents, as well as VA healthcare enrollment from James A. Haley VA Hospital.

Hillsborough County HRV opened on December 7, 2017 (Pearl Harbor Day), after securing $1.9 million in state and county funding.

The House and Senate get millions in tax revenue to play with towards the end of budget negotiations. This money is distributed among different projects in what is known in legislative parlance as the “sprinkling list”.

The House and Senate released their mailing lists Wednesday night, with leaders agreeing on $759 million for local projects.

The release of the slate is a sign that budget negotiations are over and the Legislative Assembly will reach its new scheduled end date of Monday, March 14.


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