Lawmaker hopes GVDC will become facility for veterans, sends letter to governor

GREENE VALLEY, TN (WJHL) – In the three months since Tennessee closed Greene Valley Developmental Center, the state’s also shut down 13 of the 19 buildings on the site, but yet another lawmaker hopes the doors will one day re-open to offer medical and mental health services for veterans.

After the facility for people with intellectual disabilities officially closed in May, Rep. David Hawk, (R), TN-District 5, sent Gov. Bill Haslam a letter, asking him to consider transforming the 100-acre site into a facility for veterans. He also suggested the additional 300 acres behind the site would make a good location for a military cemetery.

“I’ve heard from hundreds of people about what they’d like to see done on the facility and right now, overwhelmingly, veterans’ services leads the way,” Rep. Hawk said. “We’ve invested millions of dollars in windows and siding and roofs, heat and air on many of the facilities on campus, so I’m hopeful those investments will go forward and be good investments.”

Rep. Hawk said he believes top state administrators will eventually form a task force to try and nail down the future use of Greene Valley.

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R), TN-District 1, became the first to publicly support the idea of a facility for veterans at GVDC in January 2016. Today, in a statement, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs reaffirmed his support for the idea.

“I remain optimistic that the Greene Valley site can be used to serve East Tennessee’s veterans, and I hope to share this opportunity with VA Secretary Shulkin, just as I shared the idea with former Secretary McDonald,” Rep. Roe said. “I will encourage the department to look into ways the site can be used to benefit our nation’s heroes because I believe Greene Valley is a unique opportunity for our veterans.”

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of General Services said right now, there are no plans for the site and no timeline for coming up with any plans. Only six of the buildings at GVDC remain in use for state purposes.

“We have consolidated the existing functions and staff into (six) of those buildings and have closed the other 13 buildings,” Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Communications Director Cara Kumari said. “Where it is not disruptive to the active buildings, we have turned off the utilities in the inactive buildings.”

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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