The new veterans’ clinic bound for Lewiston-Auburn has received a last signature from the federal Veterans Affairs secretary and a tentative opening date of fall 2011, according to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s office.
Michaud spokesman Ed Gilman said VA Secretary Erik Shinseki signed off on the project Wednesday.
“The Congressman has been a bit of a bulldog with the VA to get them to move forward,” Gilman said. “The official signing by the secretary really gets things going, that’s why we’re so excited about it.”
Back in 2005, local veterans presented the VA with 1,000 signatures asking them to consider building a community-based outpatient clinic in the Twin Cities. A new clinic would cut the drive for many veterans currently getting services at the Togus VA Medical Center. Michaud announced that the area got the clinic in June 2008.
Togus spokesman James Doherty estimated the new clinic would serve about 5,500 local veterans. It will offer primary care, a lab, mental health services, X-ray and optometry, he said, along with limited specialty care. “It will have far more services than a traditional community based outpatient clinic.”
Gilman said the project isn’t yet tied to one city or the other. The secretary’s signature triggered a call for interested parties with potential sites to come forward. On a Web site for federal business opportunities, the VA says it’s looking for a 7- to 9-acre site for a 29,000-square-foot clinic with 145 parking spots. Site proposals are due by July 15.
In a press release, Michaud’s office said a call for developers would go out in the fall, a bid would likely be awarded next spring and construction would last approximately 18 months.
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