Veterans Home Council waiting for 2012 VA list
by LARRY C. BOWERS, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 13, 2012 | 1225 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
News was disappointing Thursday evening when Bradley County Veterans Affairs Officer Joe Davis announced that state officials have been unable to get a list of future Veterans Administration construction projects.

Davis’ announcement came at a meeting of the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council at the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce.

Local and state officials were hoping to find out where the Bradley County Veterans Home was on the VA list. It is believed that a facility in Montgomery County (Clarksville) is the first Tennessee project on the List, and it is hoped Bradley County’s facility will be No. 2.

The VA construction list is believed to still be on the chairman’s desk. “The state board has assured us they’ll let us know as soon as it’s released,” added Davis.

Davis said he had called the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., about the list, and representatives told him they would call him back. “I haven’t heard from them,” he said.

Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall, a member of SETVH board, suggested Davis and Service Officer Larry McDaris send a letter and ask for a copy of the list, “since so many things depend on where Bradley County is on the list.”

Davis and McDaris said they had previously contacted U.S. senatorial and U.S. congressional members from Tennessee.

Board chairman Cid Heidel emphasized VA funding will not be for the immediate future.

“If we could get in the 2014 budget that would be good,” said Davis.

In other SETVH news:

n An update was provided on start-up projects at the veterans home site.

With a grant of $60,000 from Bradley County’s Healthy Community Initiative, Thompson Engineering of Chattanooga has been retained for preliminary work.

Phase II (an environmental survey) has been completed. Davis said nothing was found to hamper this test, with the exception of some tires that had been dumped on the property, and they are being removed.

Other phases include a second environmental survey, State Historical Preservation clearance and geotechnical testing.

n McDaris shared a “letter of intent” from the anonymous donors who have pledged $3 million to the project. This pledge was made several years ago.

The letter says the home will not be named after an individual or individuals, now or ever, but will be dedicated in honor of the Bradley County veterans who have served and sacrificed their lives to ensure our liberty. A wall plaque will be established identifying the facility as being dedicated to Bradley County veterans. The letter says the facility will never be called a “nursing home.”

Funds from the contribution are now available, and will be distributed once the application process is completed and fully funded by local and state agencies.

The letter says the offer will be null and void if the application and funding process has not been completed and approved before Dec. 31, 2012. The gift will also be contingent upon the entire gift being deductible for (1) federal gift, federal income and, if applicable, federal estate tax purposes; and (2) Tennessee gift and, if applicable, Tennessee inheritance tax purposes.

n The board discussed tentative plans for two Boogies at the Barn events this year, on Friday and Saturday, May 18-19.

n The annual veterans golf tournament is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 2.

n The annual Veterans Day dinner is planned for a time near the federal holiday this year. The exact day, and location, have not yet been determined.

n Service officers McDaris and Davis announced a new website for the board at setvh.org. They also expressed appreciation to Chick-fil-A for providing meals for the board meeting, and assisting with the golf tournament.

n The next meeting of the SETVH Council will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.