A measure is moving through the Kentucky legislature that would provide the necessary funding to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green.
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed the bill last week that puts $2.5 million toward design work.
The General Assembly in 2017 approved $10.5 million in state bonds to fund the project. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has committed $19.5 million toward the project, but the design work must be completed before federal funding is released to the commonwealth.
Rep. Meredith says the project was accelerated after the Trump administration put more money into the federal VA budget.
“When they did that, they cleared a backlog of facilities that had been on an active federal funding list for quite some time, and moved us way up the list of projects to be considered for federal funding," explained Meredith.
Meredith said the timeline for building a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green has been moved up four to six years. The Warren County Republican expects ground to be broken by next summer.
The federal VA conducted a study in 2017 that suggested Bowling Green was a high-need area for a veterans nursing home.
"We have a lot of retirees moving into our area and we’re centrally located between Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell," said Meredith. "The projection is that we’ll have one of the biggest growths in population of veterans over the next 20 years, and we already have a need as is, even before that happens.”
The closest veterans nursing home to south-central Kentuckians is more than an hour away in Radcliff or Hanson.
Once built, the Bowling Green facility would be Kentucky’s fifth veterans nursing home. The proposed 90-bed facility will be located at the Kentucky Transpark.
Meredith says ground will likely be broken by next summer on the Bowling Green facility.