The Fresno Veterans Home, more than a dozen years in the making, celebrated its grand opening Friday morning in southwest Fresno.
Construction on the estimated $250 million veterans home in Fresno began in May 2010. But money ran out, and then there was no money to run it.
Obstacles like that were par for the course. The home, first envisioned for Fresno County by local proponents in the late 1990s, languished through political squabbles until then-Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation on Aug. 14, 2002, paving the way for it.
Still more political maneuvering was required to negotiate debates about where it should be located and who should pay for the needed land and infrastructure.
In 2011, Assembly Member Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, introduced Assembly Bill 1422, The Veterans Homes Savings Act, which allowed the California Department of Veterans Affairs to dip into its savings to complete the two long-delayed projects.
"It was a team effort," Perea said Thursday when he welcomed the home's first resident, noting that the city of Fresno and Fresno County played key roles in the project, which was built with state and federal funds.
Friday was an opportunity for veterans, politicians and other dignitaries to celebrate that the doors to the 300-bed facility are open. It'll be many months before it's full as the state builds up staff and resources to serve incoming residents.
Officials plan an open house at the home, at the corner of California and Marks avenues, on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.