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Environmental Study Recommends Louisville Site for New VA Hospital

Veterans Administration

A new veterans medical center in Louisville is another step closer to becoming a reality.  The U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration released its final environmental impact study on Friday.

According to the study, property near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway is the preferred site to build the hospital that will replace the outdated one on Zorn Avenue.  The study also looked at a location on Factory Lane near I-265.

The report says there could be negative effects on air quality, noise, utilities, and traffic, but adds that measures can be taken to minimize the environmental impact. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has also expressed concerns about the chosen site.

After the environmental study was launched, the city of Radcliff in Hardin County offered to donate more than 50 acres of land, but the offer has not gained traction with federal VA officials.

"We appreciated everyone's interest in making those proposals, but the environmental impact study was not a solicitation of new proposals," VA spokeswoman Judy Williams told WKU Public Radio.

The VA has already spent $13 million to purchase the Louisville property.  After several years of delays, construction is scheduled to begin late next year.

However, Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver says he doesn’t think a new veterans' hospital will ever be built on the government’s chosen site in Louisville.  Weaver said the process used by the VA to select hospital locations is filled with "waste, fraud, incompetence, and political influence."

"There's something terribly wrong with this whole system.  The people in the Brownsboro Road area know. I know it," Weaver said.  "The more we study it, the more I realize that every taxpayer in the country should be furious with what's happening with the VA.  This is not the right thing to do."

Weaver is proposing a public-private partnership with some Hardin County investors, which he said could build the hospital on time and under budget.  He expects the project to be tied up in litigation for a few years, and says a new facility could be built in Radcliff in less time that it would take to resolve such lawsuits.