Highway 29 overpass dedicated to Pope County Deputy Josh Owen

ST. PAUL – On Saturday, May 20, legislative leaders announced a bipartisan agreement to pass a robust bonding bill and deliver $300 million in much-needed funding to the state’s struggling nursing homes. On Monday, May 22, the final day of the 2023 legislative session, the Minnesota Senate approved a bonding bill that funds critical infrastructure projects across the state, according to a state senate news release.

 “I am glad we were able to finally achieve a bonding bill that is fair to rural Minnesota,” Sen.Torrey Westrom (R-Alexandria) said. 

Rep. Paul Anderson R-Starbuck, said legislative Republicans scored a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating for $300 million more than Democrats had proposed. Anderson said this added funding will help that industry at a time nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones.

The additional nursing home funding was the lynch pin to bipartisan agreement on a $2.6 billion package to fund infrastructure projects throughout Minnesota. For Anderson’s District 12B, funding was provided for Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management ($12.8 million), the city of Beardsley ($2 million) and Central Square in Glenwood ($4 million).

“Local bonding projects and increased funding for nursing homes are two nice wins we had this session despite some of the headwinds we were facing,” Anderson said. 

“And I’m glad we were successful with dedicating an overpass by Glenwood in honor of the late Deputy Josh Owen.”

 Talking about the  Central Square Cultural and Civic Center community building in Glenwood that was funded at $4 million, Wenstrom said “This is a project that our community has been pushing for years, and I am very pleased we were able to secure this much-appreciated funding this session. The $4 million will go a long way for remodeling and roofing improvements to the Central Square.” 

 This year’s bonding bill also provides $2 million for Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Geneva Culvert improvements to install a new box culvert under U.S. Highway 29 between Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Geneva. Working with the City of Alexandria and members of the lake associations, this project will enlarge the waterway to allow for better water flow control and facilitate boat traffic on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes.  

 Finally, Alexandria Technical and Community College will receive $955,000 to help fund the remodeling, deconstructing, and planning of the new campus additions, including the Transportation Center. “This nearly $1 million will ensure that the Alexandria Technical & Community College remains a top-tier institution for our community and state. This funding will help modernize the campus, including the construction of the Transportation Center,” Westrom concluded.