WATERLOO — Black Hawk County leaders are getting behind plans for a new veterans center in the Pinecrest Building.

Members of the county Board of Supervisors said Tuesday they support plans for the center, which will be operated by the Veteran Affairs Commission in space formerly occupied by Grin & Grow Child Care.

“I think it’s going to turn out to be one heck of a facility that we all can be proud of,” said Supervisor Tom Little.

Board members had budgeted $210,000 this year to renovate space for the veterans drop-in center around the commission’s current offices in the rear of the county-owned Pinecrest building at 1407 Independence Ave.

But the 3,500-square-foot area formerly used by the day care center, which is also on the first floor of Pinecrest, provides more room, better access and a much better price tag for the project.

“It really is an ideal space for what we’re looking at trying to accomplish here,” said Rory Geving, building maintenance superintendent, noting the estimated renovation cost now is just $80,000.

Geving is working on bid documents for the project, which includes repainting, replacing tile and carpet flooring, updating the kitchen and four bathrooms, and repairing cracked and heaved outdoor concrete.

He hopes the work can be done by January, pending approval of a construction contract.

The veterans center was the brainchild of former county VA director Kevin Dill. It is expected to provide a space for veterans to gather but will include areas for fitness classes, presentations, counseling, meals, and recreation.

“Now we can dream big and do some things to improve the lives of veterans and their spouses and families,” said Yolando Loveless, the commission’s current executive director.

Loveless said the commission has been seeking donations to furnish the new center but currently lacks storage space for those items.

“Somebody wanted to donate a piano,” he said. “We’ve already got a pool table donated, an elliptical bike donated. We’re telling our constituents to please give us some time because it looks like the ribbon cutting won’t happen until January.”

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