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July 28, 2023

Crane Bill to Support Northern AZ Veterans Receives Legislative Hearing

Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a Subcommittee on Federal Lands legislative hearing on H.R.1829, a bill introduced by Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ), which would transfer land to Gila County, AZ for construction of a veterans center on 232 acres in Young, Arizona.

The center would be the first of its kind in northern Arizona, providing resources and support to primarily rural veterans and their families.

Gila County Supervisor Woody Cline testified before the Committee on the significant impacts and outstanding resources the center would provide for veterans and their families in the region.

Speaking to Supervisor Cline about the purpose of the veterans center, Rep. Eli Crane said, “One of the things I love so much about this project, is that you’re not coming here, Mr. Cline, and asking the federal government for any money. You’re actually trying to take something that’s a beautiful piece of land that’s not being used anymore and revitalize it into something amazing for some of our nation’s finest individuals.”

The transfer of ownership to Gila County would protect and maintain the rich history of the property while providing family housing, meeting and activity spaces, resource rooms, Veteran Ceremonial Grounds, and outdoor recreation.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senator Kelly (D-AZ) and Senator Sinema (I-AZ) in the Senate, requires the Secretary of Agriculture to convey the Pleasant Valley Ranger District Administrative Site to Gila County, Arizona.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and former Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) helped to lay the foundation for this bipartisan effort last Congress.

“I’m grateful that the Committee had the opportunity to hear from Supervisor Cline on why this land transfer and veterans center are so crucial for those in Northern Arizona who selflessly served our nation. This legislation would give our heroes and their families priceless resources that aren’t available elsewhere in the region. I’m grateful to Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman and Subcommittee Chairman Tom Tiffany for their leadership and look forward to the advancement of this bill,” said Rep. Crane.

“This site will only be one of two sites in Arizona. There’s one in the southern part of Arizona and one in the northern part […] It’s huge for our local community as well. We have a local veteran community of about 100 people right there in that small town. And then right there between us and Payson, there’s roughly another 5,000-7,000 more right there. Having this accessible, not only to the local members, the state members, the national members, but also, we’re adjacent to the White Mountain Apache Tribe that is not very far away that has a number of veterans in that reservation as well that have been big supporters of this project. It means everything to these folks,” said Gila County Supervisor Woody Cline during hearing questioning.