MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A nearly nine-acre property off 66th St. W. in Bradenton could see a major transformation in the years to come. County commissioners are considering gifting the land, valued at about $6 million, to a New York-based nonprofit.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation provides housing assistance to veterans who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They’ve helped thousands of people across the nation and aim to bring their work to Bradenton.

The hope is to transform the county-owned property into affordable housing for veterans. The exact number of units is still up in the air, but during a meeting before commissioners Tuesday, a representative with the nonprofit mentioned a maximum of 170 units as part of the 50-year agreement.

“Permanent housing is the real need here. If you are a veteran experiencing homelessness, there are places to lay your head in the forms of transitional programs, but that is really a never-ending cycle of 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 months, and then the funding runs out, you have to go to another location and another location, so a permanent location is what we are trying to implement here,” Vice President of the nonprofit Gavin Naples said.

Commissioners were supportive of the proposal, however, there was some hesitation surrounding the possible impacts on nearby neighborhoods, losing control of the county property, and what possible fallout might look like.

Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge says the project would greatly impact constituents in his district and he would like to hold public meetings before moving forward.

“It is well intended, but it’s the unintended consequences that everybody has to look out for. The devil is in the details, and that is what I am concerned about. I want us to sort of iron out the wrinkles here and have a full understanding of what potential fallout could be and what potential impacts could be, and I think that all of the residents need to have a full understanding about the impact to their neighborhood, could be,” the commissioner said.

Commissioner George Kruse, who helped spearhead the project, says county officials have been working on different homeless solutions for veterans for the last 18 to 24 months, and he would like to see the project get across the finish line to start making an impact locally.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Manatee County. It is a great opportunity to show our support for veterans of Manatee County and for the veterans in the United States as a whole,” Commissioner Kruse said.

“Housing affects education; it affects law enforcement; it affects the services that are provided. Housing is the number one issue in this country and, in my mind, the number one issue in Manatee County. I think a lot of other issues and concerns and growing pains that we have would be alleviated through adequate, reasonably-priced housing for our workforce, for our young professionals, for our near homeless, and for our veterans,” he continued.

Commissioners ultimately voted to bring the project back to the table in at most six weeks. In the meantime, community town hall meetings will be held to get public input.

Commissioner Kruse was the only one who voted against the motion to delay the decision, while Commissioner James Satcher, Commissioner Jason Bearden, and Commissioner Mike Rahn were not present for the vote, which took place after a 90-minute lunch break.