Mayor Jack Tibbs said it could be a “game changer” if Eufaula is able to get awarded the site of the proposed new Southeast Alabama Veterans Home, the fifth such facility in the state.
A final three, Tibbs believes will be chosen from all of the submissions, followed by a face-to-face presentation.
“We will probably know in 60 to 90 days,” Tibbs said.
The DVA is looking for a visual location, and Tibbs believes Lake Eufaula as a backdrop and land the city would purchase on Highway 431 south of the Country Club of Alabama would be ideal, particularly with it being centrally located between Fort Benning and Fort Rucker.
The facility will be 182,000 square feet, house up to 175 veterans, employee about 250 individuals and cost about $65 million.
The proposed site is currently owned by People’s Bank, and Tibbs said the bank will ask for earnest money in order to hold it until a decision is reached.
“If we get that project, it’s a game changer for our city,” Tibbs said. “For a $65 million project, all of the crew and people in here will pay our part for the building. This is quite a major project. It would be unbelievable if we could land it. All of the major cities in the Wiregrass are going after it.”
It is known that Eufaula will be challenged by Dothan and Enterprise and likely other municipalities for the project.
“As mayor, I’m willing to use up to a million (dollars) in incentives,” Tibbs said. “We are veteran friendly in this town. We have a memorial for practically every war, a veterans’ banner program and a parade.”
The four existing veterans’ homes in Alabama are the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City, Tut Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville, William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette, and the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City. Collectively, those four homes provide care for 704 veterans and have a full staff of about 900 employees.