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Veterans clinic to be discussed at Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 22:30:07-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's been a project in the works for more than a decade, and on Tuesday the board of supervisors is once again expected to discuss the status of a facility to be built, that looks to help veterans.

The facility is meant to be the new veterans clinic, but not much work has been done, and according to the Kern County Veterans Service Department, with more than 40,000 vets locally, this clinic is needed now more than ever

"The veterans of Kern County were promised this in 2010, they've been struggling to make it a reality since then," said Joshua Dhanens, director of the Kern County Veterans Service Department.

It's been many years of frustration for the Kern County Veterans Service Department, as a clinic to help vets near Knudson and Olive Drive remains an empty lot instead of a fulfilled promise.

"Some more appeals about that selection have come before the city planning commission and the city council, and that is the current issue right now," said Dhanens.

There is some hope from Joshua Dhanes that things may change after Supervisor Mike Maggard made a referral to the County Administrative Office to bring back the agenda item of the new veteran's clinic site and request staff to prepare correspondence to the city of Bakersfield, city council as well as the planning commission, to express the county's opposition to recent appeals which is dragging out the process.

"The folks who own the current clinic location are just challenging the city's decision to move forward of building this new building, they have a right to challenge the decision the city planning commission made," said Dhanens.

But Dhanens says these appeals could slow down the building of the clinic even more.

"It is always important for veterans to have the resources they need to kind of navigate the system."

The clinic would provide and expand on services helping veterans with mental health, telemedicine, rehabilitation, and more health care needs, but Dhanens hopes that Tuesday brings some progress to the project.

"The veteran community as a whole is going to be excited about something moving forward to get that clinic that the VA, back 10 years ago realized that we needed."

23ABC also reached out to city officials for comment but they were unavailable for comment.