11:16am

Thu January 19, 2012
Health and Welfare

New Veterans Nursing Home Proposed

Gov. Steve Beshear has proposed $14 million in state bond allocations to go toward building a veterans nursing home in Radcliff.  The money is included in the governor’s proposed two-year budget, which now stands for approval by the state legislature.  Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said it will take another two months for the legislature to “iron out” the newly proposed budget. The state legislature never has adopted a budget as proposed by Beshear, according to Moore.

However, he added, he is grateful the governor recognizes and continues to support the Radcliff facility, which would be the state’s fourth nursing home for veterans.

The area of Hardin County and south Jefferson County has the largest per capita percentage population of veterans in the state, said Dave Jarrett, Disabled American Veterans service officer and a member of the Joint Executive Council of Veterans Organizations.

Hardin County has lobbied for a veterans nursing home since the early 1990s when the state completed Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, he said.

“Those allocations are critical because the state needs to allocate funds in order for the federal government to do its part,” Jarrett said. “This is great news.”

State Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, said Fort Knox allotted 194 acres of land to the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.

A section of that land is for the expansion of Kentucky Veteran Cemetery-Central in Radcliff, which is rapidly growing, he said. The remainder will be designated for the nursing home.

The estimated cost of building the nursing home is $33 million, Parrett said. The state must put up 35 percent of that, and the federal government will provide 65 percent.

Jarrett said the federal government is in the process of conducting a survey, and once that is complete, it will transfer ownership of that land to the state. He expects that to take place next month.

“We’re not home free, but we’re getting there,” he said.

Once the federal government has determined the state will do as it says, it will allocate its money, Jarrett said, and then the project will proceed to its architectural phase.

Gilda Hill, KDVA acting director, said the home is expected to consist of 10 individual buildings housing 12 beds each, amounting to a total of 120 beds. There would be an additional building for administration.

This would make the Radcliff nursing home about the same size as the western and eastern veteran centers in Hanson and Hazard but smaller than Thomson-Hood, according to the KDVA website.

Hill said the nursing homes are based on a “home atmosphere” rather than an “institutional” feeling.

Parrett said there is no start or completion date at this time, and once built, the KDVA would be in charge of operating the nursing home.

Although the budget awaits legislature approval, Parrett said the state’s commitment to the Radcliff nursing home will bump the project up the federal government’s priority list.