Despite hopes for construction to start this year, the wait continues for the long-delayed West Tennessee Veterans Home planned for Arlington — a victim of unfulfilled federal funding.

And, much like the plans for the home on 28.5 acres at 11293 Memphis-Arlington Road, the hopes for funding the $54.8 million project along with a timetable remain unclear, extending five years of waiting. Arlington was selected for the project in mid-2015.

Work usually starts on next year’s funding priority list in October, and could be released any time between November and next spring. The Arlington project was No. 37 on the last national funding. Organizers hope the Arlington project will be funded with the next list.

The West Tennessee Veterans Home could take as long as a decade to complete

Last year, executives cautioned that the wait for the new home in Arlington could take up to a decade due to variables like other states vying for funding of projects, whether those states have a higher need for new beds than Tennessee, and various renovation and safety projects that might need priority.

The state veterans home agency provides long-term skilled nursing care for veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents at four locations across the state — Murfreesboro, Humboldt, Knoxville and Clarksville — with Cleveland in Bradley County and Arlington expected next.

Construction is underway now on the 108-bed Bradley County Tennessee State Veterans’ Home in Cleveland near Chattanooga. Work began last August with hopes of opening by early 2022.

The three West Tennessee counties combined have the highest concentration of veterans in the state. Unfortunately, the nearest veterans’ home is 100 miles away — a 140-bed facility in Humboldt. That can mean a 200-mile round trip for friends and families visiting veterans.

Many veterans require specialized care they are unable to get locally at nursing homes. The new facility in Arlington would include 126 beds. Also, there are plans for an 18-bed house in the future.

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