Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3262.
This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to convey property on the VA Illiana Health Care System campus in Danville, Illinois, to the Danville Area Community College.
Authorizing this conveyance would allow the VA to dispose of a vacant building for which it has no intended future use and is costly to maintain.
It would also allow the Department to straighten their property line, subsequently shortening the amount of fencing that is required to secure the safety of the medical center campus.
H.R. 3262 is sponsored by my friend and colleague from Illinois, Congressman John Shimkus, and I thank him for his leadership in sponsoring and advancing this legislation.
I urge all of my colleagues to support H.R. 3262.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3262 authorizes the VA to convey to the Danville Area Community College of Danville, Illinois, what is known as Building Number 48, which is part of the VA Illiana Health Care System.
In return, the college will convey back to the VA certain lands near the college library building.
We do not have any issues with the legislation, and I urge its passage.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, it does take an act of Congress to transfer lands and buildings, and that is kind of what we are doing here today, so I rise in support of this bill.
It is a very simple bill that is going to benefit the VA there in Danville, but also the local community with the Danville Area Community College.
Danville, Illinois, is a small town that has been home to some big names. Dick Van Dyke called Danville home in his childhood. Speaker Joe Cannon, a name we all know in Congress, was from Danville. Today, Danville is home to the VA Illiana Health Care System and the Danville Area Community College, commonly known as DACC.
DACC's president, Dr. Alice Jacobs, is an exceptional leader who has dedicated 45 years to higher education, including the last 16 years leading DACC. She has recently announced her retirement in the coming year, and I thank her for her dedicated service to the students and the community of Danville and wish her the best in the future.
The VA and DACC are an excellent example of how two institutions can work in cooperation to serve our veterans. The location of the VA hospital adjacent to the community college campus allows our veterans returning home to seek their medical care and help with benefits, while the college provides the opportunity for educational and training experiences that can help them transition into civilian life.
However, when the property lines were drawn between these two fine institutions, it wasn't in a straight line. Today, that has created a challenge as the VA explores the option of building a security fence along its boundary. Building that fence along the existing property lines will be more expensive. My bill, H.R. 3262, solves this problem by swapping two small parcels of land that both the VA and DACC have agreed to, creating a straight fence line.
Swapping these parcels is beneficial for the local community as well. In exchange for the land it gives up, DACC will receive a parcel of land with a historic, century-old Carnegie Library. This building has become so deteriorated and expensive to maintain that the VA has stopped using it. Now the building sits vacant while the VA still pays for basic maintenance and utilities. In its testimony to the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Health Subcommittee, the VA stated that disposing of this
building would save an estimated $98,000 over the next 10 years.
Danville and DACC see great potential for the building. Through the generosity of a private donor, DACC plans [Page: H634]
to transform the old library into a cultural center, providing the local treasure. Swapping these parcels of land is a win for the VA, saving money on the construction of the fence and maintenance of an unused building, and a win for Danville, providing the community with a historically significant location to host a valuable cultural attraction.
H.R. 3262 is a simple, win-win bill for all parties involved.
Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Brown for their support in moving this bill, along with the Veterans' Affairs Committee staff for their work in getting the bill to the floor.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 3262.