Bowling Green to break ground on Kentucky's fifth veterans nursing home
Ground will be broken in November on a Bowling Green nursing home for military veterans.
The 60-bed facility will open in the Kentucky Transpark on 25 acres of donated land in the industrial complex.
The project has cleared a number of hurdles during a decade of planning and delays. The project secured federal and state funding, as well as land, but construction bids came in above the original cost estimate. What was once a 90-bed, $30 million project is now 60 beds at a cost of about $55 million, according to State Rep. Michael Meredith of Brownsville.
"I would say unprecedented inflation in construction materials and labor costs," Meredith said. "That's the problem with a process like this. You have to estimate the cost so many years in advance. We estimated the cost in 2015 and you don't get to go back to the drawing board later in the process."
Meredith said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was willing to provide a slight increase in funding for the project. The Kentucky General Assembly and Gov. Andy Beshear have also agreed to use budget reserve funds to cover the remaining cost increase.
While the Bowling Green facility will be the smallest veterans nursing home in Kentucky, it will fill a major need in southern Kentucky.
Malcolm Cherry, commander of American Legion Post 23 in Bowling Green, said it’s still gratifying to see the nursing home move forward, even factoring in the downsizing.
“We feel blessed to get what we’re getting and it could be they’ll expand in the future," Cherry said.
Area veterans are currently staying further away in facilities in Radcliff, Hazard, Hanson, and Wilmore. Cherry anticipates there being a waiting for admittance to the Bowling Green nursing home.
He’s hoping a comrade can even return home. The past commander of the American Legion Post in Bowling Green, Roger Miller, is currently living in a VA nursing home in Clarksville, TN.
There's currently no timeline for completing construction on the nursing home, though Meredith said he expects it to take 18-24 months.
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