VA seeks public comment on hospital impact report
After numerous delays, the Veterans Administration took an important step Tuesday toward building a new hospital in Louisville.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After numerous delays, the Veterans Administration took an important step Tuesday toward building a new hospital in Louisville.
The agency held a public hearing on its draft environmental impact report.
The VA has already spent $13 million to purchase land off Brownsboro Road near the Watterson Expressway and is now seeking public comment on the report, which addresses the hospital's potential impact on the area.
“I think it's a farce. I think it was a rigged system from the very beginning,” said Irene Yeager, who lives in the Crossgate neighborhood next door to the proposed hospital site.
Yeager is concerned about the impact especially on traffic.
“It's all about the traffic. They can't handle it. They can't handle it now, so how can they handle it later?” she said.
Yeager joined more than 100 others at Christ Church United Methodist Church Tuesday for a public hearing held by the VA on its draft environmental impact report.
The report downplays the potential long-term impact.
“The impact from our project is essentially the same as any other potential use for development on a mixed-use site like that,” said project manager George Odorizzi.
Yeager is not buying it.
“You can dress up a pig. You can put high-heel shoes on it. But it's still a pig,” she said.
But not everyone at the hearing opposed the Brownsboro Road location.
“This is the very best location that veterans could hope for. And veterans need it," said Vietnam veteran Ken Crawford said. "Thousands upon thousands of veterans come to Louisville for medical care, and you could not find a better spot than this."
The VA will likely make a final decision in February.
“It's our thought that we'll continue to move forward at this location until something in this process would tell us that we need go somewhere else,” said VA Medical Center Director Martin Traxler.
That's what opponents are counting on.
“It's a development gone wrong,” Yeager said.
The VA scheduled a second hearing for Tuesday night. Odorizzi says the agency could make a final decision by February.
If the project moves forward, construction should begin in late-2018 if Congress approves the remaining $900 million needed for construction.
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