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Veterans Service Center continues moving forward, waiting on clean deed to the property
Carroll County Times - 1/30/2018
Jan. 30--The Carroll County Veterans Independence Project efforts to bring a Veterans Service Center to the former U.S. Army Reserve Center on Malcolm Drive in Westminster are continuing, most recently working with the county to send an application to the Department of Health and Human Services for a clean deed to the property.
The building was formerly requested for law enforcement use, said Ed Cramer, vice president of the CCVIP, and so the county, which owns the building, needed to get the building re-designated "in order to get it re-purposed for our use."
With the application sent, he added, the CCVIP is looking at four to six months until hearing back.
"Now it's back in HHS' hands to send it back to the county," Cramer said. "We're in the wait mode right now."
In November, the Board of County Commissioners approved a presentation by the CCVIP that discussed turning the 13,000-square-foot building into a homeless shelter, with individual rooms for 20 veterans and group rooms for an additional four families. The venue will also house laundry and kitchen facilities as well as educational opportunities, including those that are skill-based, Cramer previously said.
But in December, commissioners voiced some concern over the project, specifically how it will be funded and what the total purpose of the facility would be.
Since that meeting though, CCVIP President Frank Valenti said he met with Commissioner Dennis Frazier to talk about the commissioners' concerns, and that it's been worked out.
"This is a collaborative effort with the county," Valenti said. "We're moving forward."
Frazier, R-District 3, said after meeting with Valenti, the board realized they had the same understanding of what the facility would be.
"We're fully committed to getting this Veterans Service Center up and running," Frazier said. "We're 100 percent behind it."
And while there was some concern over how the facility would be funded, Frazier added, the CCVIP feels confident they will be able to do so through grants, donations and other means.
Valenti said they have been going around the county presenting the concept to different groups and have received positive feedback. While they wait to hear back on the deed, he said they're moving forward with submitting bids for site surveys and work. They've also talked with vendors about replacing the roof and skylights, he added.
This facility will work to help veterans, including those who are homeless and also those approaching homelessness, he said.
"It's all about getting veterans back on their feet and in the workplace," Valenti said. "It's kind of a full-service, 360-degree thing."
(c)2018 the Carroll County Times (Westminster, Md.)
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