Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Developers Can Get Extension For Possible VA Clinic

Developers moving forward in the process to build a Cookeville VA Clinic can request an option extension after a Tuesday night County Commission vote.

Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said the Veterans Administration has notified the parties that it plans to make an announcement on the clinic during first quarter 2025. It is unclear whether that means fiscal year or calendar year 2025. The federal budget year begins in October. Porter said the new extension would give developers an option until June, 2025.

“My thing is the veterans have to come first,” Porter said. “So we want this VA clinic to be here in Cookeville. If we don’t pass this and the option runs out and these developers have to drop out, then there’s a chance that there may not be another piece of land that the VA would choose. And if they do, then they’d have to start to process all over again, and we’d be two or three more years out before anything happens on it.”

Developers must show the VA they can quickly obtain control of any land being considered, within roughly 90 days. County Attorney Jeff Jones said in addition to the extension, the county wants proof in writing that the developer is legitimately still in the running with the VA. The developer must also pay an additional $5,000 for the option.

“They have to make a written request for an extension of the agreement and also submit some evidence to the county mayor’s office that they’re within the competitive range as being part of their proposal as being accepted by the Veterans Administration,” Jones said.

The last options were set to run out in May. The seven-to-ten acre site sits on the corner of Veterans Drive and Walnut Street, adjacent to the Ag Extension Office. The remainder of the fairgrounds property remains under option to a Florida developer.

“I really don’t like having the land tied up that long, but it’s only that small piece that’s out there on the corner,” Porter said.

Several other pieces of Cookeville land were reportedly under consideration for the facility. Porter said the VA continues to evaluate the developers. He said he understands that several developers have been knocked out of the running for the fairgrounds site.

“I’m asking that you pass this to let us extend those options out, and hopefully the VA will make a decision quicker than that and we’ll know something,” Porter said.

In other business Tuesday night, Commissioners approved Kim Bradford and Danny Holmes for the Award Committee. The Highway Department transferred a Mack truck to the Maintenance Department. Commissioners approved the transfer of a 2018 trailer from the Sheriffs Department to the Maintenance Department.

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