Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder wrote in a June 12 letter to Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland that funding is in place for the Montgomery County TSVH and the designer, who has been approved by the State Buildings Commission, is currently drawing the plans for the new veterans home in Clarksville.
“We anticipate the plans will be finished by the fall,” she wrote. “As you may know, the Bradley County TSVH project is 58th on the United States Veterans Affairs priority list, behind the TSVH project in Montgomery County.”
Once the environmental studies on the Montgomery County site are completed, the TSVH board will review the information on the proposed site and move to make a recommendation regarding acceptance of the property.
Rowland said good news for Montgomery County is good news for Bradley County as well.
“The veterans home in Montgomery County is ahead of the home in Bradley County on the VA’s priority funding list, so beginning work on the home up there is good news for us,” the mayor said.
Grinder said the TSVH board provisionally approved the property on Arrowood Drive in Montgomery County on May 31. The approval is contingent upon the acceptance of the property by the state of Tennessee. She said final approval is contingent upon review by the chairman, executive director and commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration designee to the Tennessee State Veterans Homes Board.
The bidding process and selection of a general contractor can begin after the State Buildings Commission approves the project. Grinder gave no indication of when the contractor selection process would begin.
“We are dependent on the completion of the second phase of the environmental study, drainage, encroachments, easements and utility issues at the proposed site, which are being processed by Montgomery County,” she wrote. “The continued community support of the future TSVH Bradley County project is imperative to meeting the USVA requirements within the timeline that will begin once we receive the federal funding commitment letter. We will continue to monitor the progress and we are committed to do what we can to move forward with this new Tennessee Veterans Home for Bradley County.”
Both local governments have remained steadfast in their support of the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home.
Grinder said this year’s General Assembly legislative session brought good news as the governor’s $31 billion budget passed with the inclusion of state funding for the proposed Tennessee State Veterans Home in Bradley County. The state has included $3.1 million for this project and with the local and donated dollars will be able to certify matching funds.
The local share is in the form of a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor, and the city of Cleveland and Bradley County have each committed $2 million.
The designated site of the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home is 1940 Westland Drive, on 28 acres donated by Steve Williams, Thomas Williams, Robert Wright and their families.
Environmental testing should be completed by the end of September. Once the land studies are completed, the site could accept the property into its inventory. The proposed facility is designed for 108 beds built in clusters arranged in a more homelike and neighborhood setting.
In addition to the direct benefit of the health and wellness of the veterans, the community should realize 260 new highly skilled jobs that will translate into $5.5 million in annual income and $8 million expended for goods and services.
Grinder said she and Tennessee State Veterans Home Director Ed Harries are following the progress and the process closely and will continue to do so as the Bradley County project continues to move forward.