Letter to acting VA secretary pushing for answers in clinic move

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Congressman Ron DeSantis has a big question for the Department of Veterans Affairs: how does it plan to relocate the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in St. Augustine??

The building that sits just off of U.S. 1 serves 5,000 veterans. It's the closest facility for Steven Noad's son, who suffers from 50 percent disability after a tour in Iraq.

"I think the closest one outside of this is Gainesville and it's about a two-hour drive," said Noad.

The building's lease will end in less than a year and plans to relocate are still up in the air.

Action News first reported in June that the county sold the building to Lowe's. There are plans to demolish it in about eight months.

DeSantis sent a letter that is also signed by Sen. Marco Rubio to the acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson.

His biggest concern detailed in the letter is services could be interrupted for thousands of veterans if a new facility is not built and opened before the lease is up.

"I am concerned. Hopefully they will be able to provide him with a close place like this and be able to continue his treatments," said Noad.

The lease is up by the end of March 2015. If there's no established location, veterans will have to travel to either Gainesville or Jacksonville for treatment.

A St. Johns County spokesperson said the VA has known the building was going to be sold since 2011. Action News has learned it was officially sold more than a year ago.