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Oakwood waives fees in veterans home startup

POSTED: April 10, 2017 9:42 p.m.
JEFF GILL/The Times

Bridging the Gap is hoping to house veterans who are homeless or are otherwise in dire need in this Oakwood house.

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A Gainesville-based veterans aid group is hoping to open a home in Oakwood to house veterans who are homeless or are otherwise in dire need.

Bridging the Gap Foundation got a boost in its efforts Monday night, when Oakwood City Council voted not to charge the nonprofit organization inspection and permitting fees.

“It’s a very worthwhile purpose,” City Manager Stan Brown said in addressing the issue. “I think it’s good that our community is recognized as a place that welcomes veterans and tries to assist them as they move forward in their life.”

Keith Laseter, the group’s executive director and an Army veteran, said he would like to start the operation on Hilldale Road as soon as possible.

“We’ve got people lined up ready to start,” he said, adding that Hall County officials have said they’ll waive dumping fees.

One holdup is the group needs to raise $6,200 to buy a dump trailer to help in getting the house livable, hauling debris to the county landfill, Laseter said.

Bridging the Gap also has acquired property in Warner Robins, and “there will be landscaping debris at both projects, (and) tens of tons … alone will be hauled from the Warner Robins project,” according to a document from the group.

Laseter said the Hilldale Road home will be named after Frank Turk, an Oakwood businessman who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and died in September 2011.

The home belonged to Turk and is being donated to the group by his estate, officials said.

Laseter said residents can stay as long as needed.

“Whenever you put a time limit on something like this, you’re looking at the finish line instead of trying to get (them) the help that they need,” he said.

Six veterans at most would stay in the house, Laseter told the council, “but I’m not looking to have it full all the time.”



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