Dakota Midland perfect for S.D. veterans home

Farm Forum

Much has been debated and discussed over the new state veterans home to be built in the Black Hills. It must have been quite a surprise when the bill for this new structure turned out to be miscalculated. As is usually expected, the cost of this new building drastically increased.

In this day and age of trying to save the buck it seems a shame that a facility exists already waiting to be occupied and is a full-fledged, ready-to-move-into hospital that suits the needs of veterans of our state.

I am speaking of the completely empty and sitting ready to go Dakota Midland Hospital just 1 mile north of Aberdeen. It has previously functioned very well as an independent hospital with all of the facilities ever needed by a hospital. Why not just use this existing structure to make a new home for veterans?

It seems senseless to pay many, many millions for a new building when this one just fits perfectly as a convenient, low-cost, ready-to-function hospital. Things couldn’t be more inviting and more perfect for such a dwelling.

With the budget-watching and the tightening of belts all over our nation, wouldn’t it be prudent to discard the proposed new veterans hospital and just open the doors of one ready to go without spending millions elsewhere? What a savings it would be to our state budget.

There is a great opportunity to purchase this building at a very low price since it already sits empty.

For too long, spending in our state has been wanting for funds without much progress being made to find new sources of revenue. This is a great opportunity to show the taxpayers that there really is thought and belt-tightening going on in our state’s capitol.

The millions to be spent on this new structure could so easily be transferred to a fund to improve the sorry state of county and township roads that have been neglected for so long that there is thought among some county leaders to ask local citizens to step up and help pay for these vital roads that are so important to any community.

Appeals to local county commissions have not been very fruitful and in the meantime our local roads are in such a sorry state. It cannot be overstated the vital role township and county roads play in the economy of any community and we must have some serious attention be paid to repairing these roads that went to ruin during the debacle of weather over two years ago.

The leaders of communities continually tell us there are just no funds to fix the roads. Appeals to the state legislature and the governor’s office seem to fall on deaf ears. All of the talk about the economy of the state and yet our farm to market roads continue to deteriorate and nothing gets done. Well this is a great opportunity to get something done. Use the funds for this veteran’s home to go toward fixing all of these vital links to our state’s economy.

Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at His column publishes Mondays.