Louisville's new VA Hospital is Really Happening

Longtime residents of Louisville knew it would only be a matter of time before the large open field next to the Watterson Expressway by the Brownsboro Road exit would be developed.  Most assumed it would be turned in to a strip mall, or another cookie cutter row of corporate offices, but never could have imagined it would be the chosen home for the new VA Medical Center.   The first signs of work have shown up on the sight, leading us all to say “I can’t believe it is really happening.”  

 A 21st Century Medical Center is due to replace the existing Robley Rex VA Medical Center which is 60 years old.  The current VA Hospital is located off of Zorn Avenue and is said to be outdated and overcrowded.  The new, updated Hospital, will sit adjacent to the Brownsboro Rd and I 264 Interchange will “provide state of the art healthcare for the veterans of Louisville and the surrounding 35-County region.”  according to Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki.

The new VA Hospital is going to have the best of the best.  The Hospital will have 110 inpatient beds, an extended care program, and a home-based primary care program. There will be specialized clinics in primary care, surgery, and mental health as well as substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment program.  

The new VA Hospital is planning to open its doors in late 2017 or early 2018 and is expected to cost $883 million dollars. Senator Mitch McConnell has secured 75 million dollars of the cost. Last year alone, Kentucky spent 1.9 billion dollars on its 331,000 Veterans.  That cost is spread between Louisville’s existing VA Hospital, Lexington’s two-campus medical center, roughly twenty-four clinics, and seven veterans’ cemeteries.  

Many residents of the area are concerned with their new neighbor.  With the sudden influx of so many patients, visitors, and medical personnel, many are concerned about traffic, safety, and property value. Congressman John Yarmuth has addressed the concerns about traffic, assuring residents not to worry and that those issues will be addressed.  Many Brownsboro Road area residents are left unsure and wanting their questions answered. 

Some of the neighborhood's directly affected by the new VA Hospital will be Northfield, Crossgate, and Winding Falls.  Only time will tell how the location of the new VA Hospital will affect these Louisville neighborhoods, but for now, everyone seems on edge.  

Local businesses however, are ecstatic! Vint Coffee said they cannot wait for the hospital to open up right across the street and I’m sure we can all figure out why. The many fast-food restaurants will get a boom of business. And with the addition of the VA Hospital to the area, it’s only a matter of time before the Holiday Manor Shopping Center (which has been the same for years) will be turned into a Summit-like destination, following the trends.  

I guess we have to take the good with the bad, and at the end of the day realize The VA Hospital will be doing a lot of good.

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