LAUGHLIN — The Laughlin Town Advisory Board took up the issue of seeking a Community Development Block Grant to help fund a Veterans Resource Center in Laughlin as described by American Legion Commander Pam Walker.
Walker spoke at the August meeting, describing how Nevada veterans must cross the river and seek such help from the Arizona side, thus burdening the Arizona Veterans Resource Center and leaving the Nevada vets to get what they can rather than have their own support center.
Walker described some of the things she sees as needed if such a project can get the green-light funding needed to make it happen.
The center, as Walker envisioned it, would have such accommodations as a training center for Nevada veterans to help get them back into the work force, desks for them to work and study at, a number of beds and showers, and a transportation center to help them get around as needed. Walker also said the facility would need a community kitchen where Nevada veterans could get meals.
The proposed site would be on five acres of land the Richard Springston American Legion Post 60 already owns, thus alleviating the need to buy land for the proposed center.
Walker’s vision is bold and certainly many hurdles and issues still would have to be worked out, but the green light to seek funding is the first step in the process.
The LTAB supported the idea in theory at the August meeting. At the September meeting earlier this week, members had the chance to act on that support by moving on the application of a Community Development Block Grant to seek funding for the proposed center.
Unfortunately, the board in August already had approved seeking such a grant for a new Senior Center in Laughlin.
Walker’s request to have the board not ask for a second CDBG for the Veterans Center was based on experience.
Walker said that in her 25 years in Laughlin, only one CDBG has been approved and that was for the Colorado River Food Bank in Laughlin. Walker said that applying for two such grants likely would tank them both rather than get either one or at least relegate the Veterans Resource Center to a back-burner status. The board replied that they already had approved seeking such funding for a new Senior Center in conjunction with Nevada Parks and Recreation. Richard deClercq, program supervisor for Clark County Parks and Recreation, gave a status update on that application process for the proposed new Senior Center.
The proposed facility would be much larger than the existing Spirit Mountain Activity Center which is the current senior center in Laughlin and out of which Nevada Parks and Recreation currently operates its senior programs. The new center would be much larger than Spirit Mountain, include at least two swimming lanes of the current city pool enclosed so seniors could have access to swimming exercises year-round, have multi-purpose rooms and a dedicated kitchen as well. DeClercq stated that he has proposed the concept to the Clark County Board of Commissioners for consideration and that is where the idea is for now. He is expecting to hear back soon on the concept.