published Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Veterans nursing home plans advance in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The city and Bradley County have reaffirmed their funding commitment to a regional, 108-bed veterans nursing home here.

In memos of understanding, each local government committed to having $510,000 available as early as December for the home.

"Those memos of understanding were state requirements related to funding the design work," county Veterans Services Officer Joe Davis said Friday. The state Department of General Services required an expiration date on the local commitment of Sept. 1, 2016.

But Davis, who also is secretary for the Tennessee State Veterans' Homes board of directors, said the design work is not likely to cost that much.

The total city commitment is a little more than $2 million. The county's pledge is just more than $5 million, including $3 million from an anonymous donor. Those pledges were made in 2009.

The bulk of the estimated $23 million cost for the home will come from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We feel this is a very small token of appreciation for the services that our veterans have provided for this great nation," Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said in a letter to Larry McDaris, Bradley County veterans services director.

The next step is completion of environmental testing at the 28-acre site off APD 40, land that was donated by Steve and Thomas Williams, Robert Wright and their families.

Nursing homes in Montgomery and Bradley counties have been on the VA's priorities list for several years. Montgomery County/Clarksville received preliminary approval last year.

The new priority list is part of the VA's annual budget, due in October at the beginning of the federal fiscal year. But those budgets have a history of delays, Davis noted Friday.

The new list, he said, may not be available until sometime after the November elections.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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