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Talihina Officials Concerned Their State Veterans Center May Relocate

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Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs photo Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs photo
LEFLORE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The Oklahoma Senate is considering a bill that would relocate the Talihina Veterans Center and that has city officials concerned.

KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, says Shane Faulkner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs in Oklahoma City said the upkeep of the 100-year-old center is expensive. 

He says it also difficult recruiting doctors to locate in the LeFlore County community.

Talihina's mayor say they have worked to fix problems with the town's water system in order to keep the center in town.  

“We have spent approximately $5 million to upgrade our water facility in Talihina,” Mayor Don Faulkner said.

He says if Senate Bill 544 causes the facility to close, the city could go bankrupt.  

Mayor Faulkner said the Talihina Veterans Center is constantly being renovated and has been up to date since 2004.

“Talihina is actually one of the better centers and the facility with the lowest turnover rate in nurses and employees,” Don Faulkner adds.

Roy Griffith was the administrator of the Veterans Center for 25 years and said it’s a great place to live and work. He also disagrees with the ODVA’s findings.

The ODVA says if the bill is approved by the Legislature, the center may relocate to Poteau or McAlester.

The agency announced it was considering closing the center in November 2016.

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