“Nothing has been eliminated,” said Bob Morey, facility planner for the Louisville VA Medical Center. “No decision has been made and nothing has been ruled out.”
Some veterans and their families have objected to building a VA hospital downtown, saying it won’t be as convenient as the current location.
Morey said he expects a final decision on a site within a year. In the meantime, he said, the VA will advertise in The Courier-Journal and elsewhere in the next few days to find landowners wishing to sell sites 25 acres or larger in Jefferson County that are within 15 miles of a downtown location near University Hospital.
That downtown location is on five blocks bordered by East Broadway and South Clay, East Madison, East Chestnut and South Jackson streets. Landowners would have 45 days from when the ads appear to submit their proposed sites. Those sites will be evaluated by a site selection team.
Officials would not say how much money the VA is willing to spend for land, but Morey said a total of $75 million has been approved for site selection and design.
Before a site is selected, officials said there will be opportunities for veterans and others to express their views.
“We want what’s best for the veterans,” Morey said.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement that the new facility “will ensure Kentucky’s veterans receive the top-notch care they have earned through their military service.”
In a letter to Shinseki in March, Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he’s not backing a particular location.
“With respect to the site location of the new facility, I take no position,” he wrote. “That is a question best left to the VA’s discretion in conjunction with considerable input from the local veterans community.”