published Friday, January 13th, 2012

Bradley County awaits the Veterans Administration’s 2012 construction priority list

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    Tennessee's Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall
    Photo by Gillian Bolsover

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council is waiting anxiously to hear the Veterans Administration’s new construction priority list for 2012.

This time last year the list was out and Montgomery County/Clarksville ranked high on the list with Bradley County close behind.

“It’s suppose to be on the secretary’s desk at the VA in Washington waiting on his signature,” County Veterans Affairs Director Larry McDaris told the council Thursday.

Veterans Affairs Officer Joe Davis, a member of the Tennessee State Veterans Homes Board, said he has been assured Montgomery County will be at the top of the new list and Bradley not far behind.

“Tennessee can only build one at a time,’’ Davis said.

County Commissioner Mark Hall, council co-chairman, said, “Maybe we should send a letter respectfully asking for the list.”

The local Veterans Services Office will be sending that letter to the state’s senators and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

Last year Bradley ranked 47th and Montgomery County 42nd.

“A lot of critical decisions we make will be impacted by that,” said co-chairman Cid Heidel.

Meanwhile, Thompson Engineering of Chattanooga has begun a study of the South Cleveland site already secured for a home. That work is being paid for from a $60,000 grant awarded the Veterans Services Office from Bradley County’s Healthy Community Initiative. The HCI distributes grants from investment income made from the sale of the county hospital in 2005.

“I can’t think of anything better that money could be used for,” said County Commissioner Ed Elkins.

McDaris also has been talking with the anonymous donors of $3 million to be used for local matching funds when federal money is available.

A letter of intent was given to McDaris late last year by the donors to be used only for construction costs. The donors’ stipulations include that the facility not be named for an individual but be dedicated only to veterans.

David said the council has a new website at

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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