Allen letters urges commission to locate vet center in District 4
State Sen. Mark Allen penned a letter this week to the Oklahoma veterans Commission urging them to locate a new veterans center in his senate district.
The City of Sallisaw submitted its proposal to the commission last week after the commission sent out requests for proposals after the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs ordered the Talihina center be shut down and relocated to within 90 miles of the existing facility.
“Due to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission recent vote to close the Veterans Center of Talihina, I respectfully request the commission to best serve the veterans and their families of eastern Oklahoma by relocating the Veterans Center to Senate District 4,” Allen said in his letter.
Allen said Senate District 4 includes Sequoyah County and the northern half of LeFlore County and is within the 90-mile radius.
“Both applicant towns in Senate District 4, Poteau and Sallisaw, have a Carl Albert State College campus that has one of the best nursing schools in the state, a hospital, a career tech for employee training and good water,” Allen said. “Each county offers a willing and available workforce and an airport. As such, Senate District 4 is the clear and best choice for our veterans and their families. We are a veteran-friendly community and deeply respectful and appreciative of our veterans' service. It would be our pleasure to serve those who have served us.”
Sallisaw, Poteau and Muskogee have all submitted proposals and incentives in an effort to have the facility placed in their respective communities.
In submitting Sallisaw's proposal, Sallisaw City Manager Kieth Skelton said, “Our proposal centers around the best possible location in our area: a location easily accessible from Interstate 40 with U.S. Highway 59 South frontage. The 90 acres we have proposed will give the Veterans Administration sufficient space to construct a state-of-the-art facility with numerous amenities for the residents and their family members.”
Skelton said the City of Sallisaw and its community partners have proposed incentives surpassing $1.4 million. “I cannot say enough about how our community leaders have come together as partners in this endeavor. Their response to this proposal has been amazing,” he said.
The Veterans Administration is expected to make its decision for the new location in late October.