Monday, July 1, 2019

City Completes Purchase of Property for New Veterans Center

On Monday the City of Sallisaw announced that they had completed the purchase of over 90 acres of property west of U.S. Highway 59 South and south of Drake Road to be used as the location for the new Oklahoma Veterans Center. The purchase of the property was closed on July 1 and then immediately conveyed to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. 

In 2018, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted the Oklahoma Veterans Facility Investment Act of 2018, which directed the relocation of the Oklahoma Veterans Center, Talihina Division. The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs then solicited proposals from communities within a 90 mile radius of Talihina for the relocation. After consideration of all proposals, on October 26, 2018, the Veterans Commission selected Sallisaw, by a vote of 7-1, as the new location for the facility. 

For Sallisaw’s proposal, the City worked closely with Cherokee Nation, Sallisaw Improvement Corporation, Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, local banking institutions and other community leaders and businesses to secure property and other incentives. Details of the available job force, community events, utilities and the property itself were also included in the proposal. By working together, these community partners showed Sallisaw was the ideal choice for the new facility. 

“This has been a very exciting project for our community,” said Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens. “City staff and our community partners have worked very hard to get this project to where it is today. Now that the property has been conveyed to the ODVA, it will allow them to complete their remaining tasks to get construction started. We are thankful to all of our partners and we look forward to construction of the Veterans Facility getting started in the near future.”

The 175-bed facility planned for Sallisaw will employ 300 people and is expected to be completed within 2 to 2 1/2 years.

“The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of support shown by the community of Sallisaw and the Cherokee Nation through the incentives both have provided,” said Doug Elliott, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. “This has enabled the ODVA to begin the design process for a modern long term care facility for our nation’s heroes in their new home at Sallisaw.”

Original estimates for the project were at $100 million, including $65 million in federal funding and $35 million financed through the state of Oklahoma.

KXMX News Staff

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