A rift has developed between trustees for the Massachusetts veterans care center where nearly 80 residents died after contracting the coronavirus and state officials over plans to replace the facility.
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home trustees at a meeting Wednesday pushed for a larger new facility, while state officials warned that any delays in the plans for a smaller one could sink the project, Masslive.com reported.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration supports a plan for a $300 million facility to replace the current home.
Trustees unanimously rejected the state’s current plan for a new building with a maximum of 204 beds in favor of a plan for a facility with 235 beds.
State Secretary of Veterans Services Cheryl Poppe and Assistant Secretary for Administration and Finance Alda Rego told trustees that pushback over the size of the home could imperil the entire project, which faces an April 15 deadline to apply for federal funding. The project also will hinge on Baker signing a $300 million bond bill by Aug. 1.
Trustees Isaac Mass and Kevin Jourdain said they thought the state was advancing a substandard plan. Jourdain said the state should have sought input from the board about the number of beds.