Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vets Center in Edwardsville

A guest post.

On Tuesday, June 16th the Edwardsville Zoning Board will have a hearing to consider a plan to build a vet center at the former site of St. Hedwig’s Church. The new center would be owned by Catholic Social Services Housing Corporation and operated in conjunction with the Veterans’ Administration.

The center will:

§ Be built with $9.6 million dollars in federal money from the Stimulus Package

§ House 30 veterans and their families from the hundreds on the VA Hospitals’ waiting list. Nine of the units will be customized for disabled veterans.

§ Be cheaper for the veterans at either 20% or 30% of their income.

§ Permanently support the local economy. Kingston and Edwardsville will have 30 new residents paying less for housing so they will have more disposable income.

§ Be beautiful building with gardens and landscaping that will help to improve local property values.

§ Have fulltime staff and screening for drugs and alcohol use. These factors have made similar centers a joy to live near.

There will be no rehabilitation services offered at St. Hedwig’s Veterans’ Village and it is unlikely to house veterans with severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), alcoholism or drug abuse. The reason is that there are facilities and programs specifically designed to support veterans with these problems elsewhere in the state. The majority of the population at St. Hedwig’s Veterans’ Village will be veterans with families.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting on Tuesday, June 16th or contact the Edwardsville Zoning Board at:

470 Main Street
Edwardsville, PA 18704
570 288 6484

For questions please contact Austin Ford, a volunteer with the NEPA Veterans’ MultiCare Alliance at (570)706-3960


Anonymous said...

sounds good. good for town. good for vets. so when are all the heynas gonna come out and oppose it.

Austin said...

We've heard some complaints already. They weren't enough to prevent the Kingston Zoning and Planning Committees to each unanimously approve the project (St. Hedwig's is on the boarder of Edwardsville and Kinston).

I am concerned that Ewardsville will be a much bigger fight because the man doing the bulk of the opposition at the Kingston meetings is on the Edwardsville Council. That council must approve the plan as well.


Anonymous said...

good luck to you Austin. the Heynas like being impovorished and behind the times. anything good they will fight. but bring in a company that pays 9.00 an hour they are all for it...

Stephen Albert said...

I don't live in Edwardsville, so I have no real "skin" in this game. That noted, it's now PUT UP OR SHUT UP time for the residents of Edwardsville & Kingston. I'm sure that every resident of those two towns would proudly proclaim their "support for the troops & veterans" it's time to translate that proclamation into action by supporting this very worthy endeavor.

Here's to hoping that the whole NIMBY crowd suddenly has an attack...of conscience.

Anonymous said...

Anyone against this should be drawn strung and quatered.

My goal in life is to make enough money so i can buy a place in a rich liberal area(see DC brubs) and start a homless shelter.

Austin said...

Last night the Edwardsville Zoning Board unanimously denied the variance needed. They did not give a reason at the meeting.

Several residents spoke in opposition to the project. They were concerned it would go the way of a low income housing project that they've had trouble with. The difference is that the vet center would have staff on site 24/7, regular and random screening for drugs and alcohol and a strict zero tolerance policy.

Catholic Social Services has experience with their vet center in Scranton that has been a great success both for the veterans and the community.

Commissioner Urban was among the supporters and testified that he lives near a housing project that has staff on hand and has not generated one complaint.

Veterans shared experiences about they have done and sacrificed. They spoke about similar projects and their effectiveness.

CSS will appeal the decision.