Enterprise could become site of fifth state veterans’ home

Current layout of the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City.

Enterprise could soon be the site of a new state veterans’ home, operated by the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, if an ADVA committee deems it so.

Jason Wright, communications director for the City of Enterprise, said the ADVA conducted a feasibility study that determined southeast Alabama as an area of need for a veterans’ home. As a result, counties in consideration include Barbour, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike.

According to a press release from the ADVA, those particular counties -- or any municipalities or economic development entities located within those counties -- may submit proposals, which are due by Aug. 15.

“The estimated time for the VA to make their decision is between 60 and 90 days,” Wright said. “There are a lot of factors that go into being selected, and we’re doing our best to touch on those areas and best sell what we have to offer.”

The 182,000 square-foot facility will cost an estimated $60-65 million based on the price of the last built facility in Pell City. The price would be funded by the VA and the state.

The facility will provide skilled care for 150-175 elderly or disabled veterans.

Factors to be selected include size and location of the plot of land, public road access, transportation accessibility, specialized healthcare and service-oriented workforce within proximity of the site and additional factors.

Wright said location is one of the best things Enterprise can offer.

“Location is a big thing (for us),” he said. “We have a good site. We have a lot of amenities to offer.”

ADVA will narrow down all proposals to just three, and the finalist will be chosen by a committee.

Wright said officials will work to sell the city, but at the end of the day it’s about what’s best for the veterans.

“It’s not about what we as a city have to offer or what another community has to offer,” he said. “It’s about what’s best for the veterans. We want it, obviously, but whatever the committee chooses will be in the best interest of those veterans.”

ADVA currently operates four veterans’ homes in the state: Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City, Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City, Tut Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville, and William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette.

The facilities care for more than 700 veterans.

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