HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — War veteran Dale Dart has waited more than two years for this day: a work crew breaking ground for his new wheelchair accessible room addition.
“I’m happy they are finally doing something,” Dart said.
Since being diagnosed with a debilitating illness linked to his service in Iraq and Kuwait, Dale and his family’s patience has been tested. The Department of Veterans Affairs promised to retrofit his parents’ house, so Dale doesn’t have to live in the basement.
Work was supposed to start on Dale Dart’s Town of Hamburg home earlier this year, but the government threw up more red tape delaying the project again.
Dale Called 4 Action, and the waiting ended this morning, but now there is a new roadblock.
First thing Monday morning, a crew from 3D Concrete LLC showed up to with a small front-loader and a backhoe to dig and prepare the backyard to pour the foundation. Dale woke up, and went out on the back deck extra early to watch.
“It’s like this is the most I have been upstairs in geez, weeks, months,” Dart said.
But this is just one part of Dale’s room addition–the exterior shell. The actual interior finishing which must be carried through by a second contractor, could take even more time, is causing the Dart family even more frustration.
The VA has yet to name the contractor that will do the interior work, but a spokesman told the Dart family the cost might be going up because of changes in the specifications for items that were already part of the project, such as hardwood floors and some of the wiring.
While the shell should take just a couple of months to complete, Dale’s dad–another war veteran–wants to know when he will get to meet the other contractor.
David Dart said, “That is where the rub will be, that’s where the problem is going to be I am afraid. Going to be an empty shell, and the kid is going to live in the basement? Oh no.”
The massive remodeling job includes a new bedroom for Dale, his own bathroom, and a new outside deck–all wheelchair accessible.
How much longer will all these changes take? News 4 put in a call to a spokesman for the Regional Veterans Affairs office, but so far we have not heard back.