This Program Verification Document for the site brings the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council one step closer to knowing if the Westland Drive site will be approved.
“It is encouraging to hear positive movement of this,” SETVH co-chair Cid Heidel said. “We are looking forward to seeing more such things.”
“The Program Verification Document is a big picture summary from the architect to determine if the site is suitable for the project. It is a surface review,” according to Yvettte Martinez, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs assistant commissioner of outreach and communications.
The local veterans office is hopeful the document will be accepted and the site approved by the TSVH board.
“STREAM (State of Tennessee Real Estate and Asset Management) sees no reason why they won't accept [the document]. Assuming acceptance, the next step would be a schematic design by The Lewis Group architects using city, county and donor funds committed previously for design,“ Larry McDaris of Bradley County Veterans Affairs said.
While the submission of this document is a step in the right direction, more surveying still needs to be completed before site approval can be determined.
“We are still pending an official survey which will equip the state to draft a Memorandum of Understanding between the state, land donors, city and county officials. All of these documents will be shared with the Tennessee State Veterans Home Board for consideration,” Martinez said.
This memorandum will explain what each party is committing to do.
This surveying will be completed under the direction of Wayne McCoy, the civil engineer of record for the project.
A survey of the land was done in 2013. However, more information is needed particularly on areas around the boundary of the property, McCoy said.
McCoy said the intent of the additional surveying was to ensure accurate information regarding the elevation of the land is be used in the planning process.
McDaris said the surveying would be paid for using funds awarded to the veteran’s home project from the Healthy Community Initiative Grant.
The need for these additional surveys was outlined in May when State of Tennessee Real Estate and Asset Management director of Capital Projects Management Chris Remke met with land donors Steve Williams and Thomas Williams, state Rep. Kevin Brooks and McCoy at the site to discuss concerns and solutions.
McCoy said, during an interview Friday, they hope the updated land survey will show there is not a need for retaining walls to be used to build on the site.
Initial concerns about the site’s topography voiced in November 2013 were based on outdated information, Remke said on his last visit to the site.
“The site is in much better condition than that initial information led us to believe,” Remke had said.
Addition grading had been done on the site after the initial information was gathered.
The additional surveying is expected to be completed as soon as possible by Richmond Surveying Co. of Cleveland.