Groundbreaking for a $47 million state veterans home in Bradley County, Tennessee, is scheduled for Aug. 21, the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services announced Thursday.
Earlier Thursday the Tennessee State Building Commission approved a $30,524,427 grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the home.
"There have been many dedicated organizations and individuals at the local and state levels — both public and private — which have been involved in this process since it began, so it is an honor to finally share this news today," Tennessee veterans services Commissioner Courtney Rogers said in a news release. "Planning for the groundbreaking ceremony actually began over two months ago in anticipation of the final VA grant approval, and our department greatly appreciates the support of the many stakeholders who are committed to getting this project officially started."
The new Tennessee State Veterans' Home will provide resident-centered and individualized care for qualified veterans, the release states. The estimated $47 million project will fund construction of a single-story, 108-bed intermediate and skilled care nursing facility consisting of six 18-bedroom residential houses interconnected by interior shared support spaces. Future residents will have access to a community center that contains therapeutic spaces, dining areas, activity rooms and resident support offices.
Nearly 50,000 veterans live in the six-county area of which Cleveland is a part. The Bradley County Commission and Cleveland City Council passed resolutions in 2003 to support a nursing facility for veterans in need of long-term care. An anonymous donation of $3 million was pledged in 2006, and the city of Cleveland and Bradley County since have contributed more than $2 million each, the release states.
"I can remember many events in my lifetime that I anticipated, that when achieved were truly worth the waiting time involved," Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said. "Being informed that construction will soon begin on our community's Veterans Home has to be some of the greatest news that I have ever received."
"Today is truly a day that will be marked in the history books of Cleveland, Tennessee, and Bradley County," Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks said. "As we gladly receive today's final approval from the [building commission] for our new Tennessee State Veterans Home, we honor and acknowledge the service of all those who will one day be living in this brand new home."
The families of Steve Williams, Thomas Williams and Robert Wright donated 28 acres of land at 1940 Westland Drive in Cleveland in 2010 to be the property for the proposed home, the release states. Local and state appropriations total almost $17 million, in addition to private donations.
"This is a monumental day as we are beginning to see the fruits of the labor of so many citizens, especially our veterans, who have worked very hard to bring this veterans' home to Bradley County," state Sen. Mike Bell said in the release. "This has been a grassroots effort and I am very humbled to be a part of such a worthwhile project."
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 21.