OGDEN The local American Legion wants people to rally for a nursing home in northern Utah.
"In Weber, Davis, Box Elder and Cache counties, we have more than 40,000 veterans," said Terry Schow, director of Utah's Division of Veterans Affairs. "This is something that we have a great need for. I think the rally will help inform people of that."
The American Legion Baker-Merrill Post 9 rally, featuring speakers, food and a raffle, is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at post headquarters in Ogden.
The 120-bed home is planned for 13 acres west of the Weber County Fairgrounds and would provide services for veterans from every branch of service and every war since World War II.
The Legislature in 2005 approved the sale of bonds for its share of the project. But that money has been held up because the federal government has been slow to provide its part.
"We are asking Utah to fund the entire cost of the home now and be reimbursed later by the federal government," Schow said. "The state would get the money back as the nursing home receives funding from the federal government."
He said Gov. Jon Huntsman has included the nursing home in his proposed budget, and Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, will file a bill requesting state money. The Legislature begins its annual session in January.
"We can't wait any longer because costs will only continue to rise," said Wesley Smock, first vice commander of the Ogden American Legion.
"We are doing whatever we can to help move this process along," he said. "I think getting the community involved and aware of the issue is a place to start."