Despite efforts to get it done as soon as possible, a warm smoking area for smokers at the Grand Rapids Home For Veterans is just getting finished this week.

State Representative Roy Schmidt, and Senator David Hildenbrand as well as the trade unions that they were working with (who agreed to donate their services), hoped to have the section of the pavilion just outside of the veterans' home ready as early as December. But, they were delayed by permit and fire protection issues.

Last August, veterans rallied to tell state representatives that they were concerned about their health if forced to smoke outside in the winter because of the newly-passed smoking ban. An exemption to the law was not possible, because of the way that it was written, so the two lawmakers arranged for the outdoor, insulated area to be created.

Even though spring has come, there are few more cool days ahead the area will be available for all of next winter. It's estimated $20,000 was needed to cover the costs of materials, permit fees and a small reserve for maintenance.

They hope to raise 10 to 15 percent of the money from the public and the remainder from area businesses.