3rd District Representative John Yarmuth says the timetable for the long-planned new Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville will depend on the location, and a location should be announced this fall.
Elected officials and veterans have been at odds over the best location for the hospital. Many Louisville officials want it to be downtown near other hospitals. Many veterans want it to replace the current hospital on Zorn Avenue, near the interstate. Still others have proposed splitting the inpatient and outpatient services, and putting one downtown and the other on Zorn Avenue. Yarmuth says the VA is considering those options, and looking into a few other sites around the county.
“They’re analyzing all of these sites based on the criteria that they have and the criteria are pretty extensive and actually very logical.”
Yarmuth says the VA will make its decision in September. He adds that if the hospital is to be constructed at one of the proposed suburban locations, the overall construction would be quicker and the hospital could open in 2016. If the VA decides to build the new facility downtown or on Zorn Avenue, the process would be more difficult and the hospital would not open until 2019.
“The earlier date would be if a suburban site is selected,” says Yarmuth “because that would make the acquisition process, the acquisition of the land, much easier and obviously you wouldn’t have to do much site preparation; so the whole process would move faster.”
Yarmuth says most veterans would prefer the Zorn Avenue option, but the Administration is considering a lot of criteria to make a logical decision. Access, cost and nearby amenities are all factors.