meredith012720FRANKFORT, Ky. (1/28/20) — A bill that would speed up plans to bring a fifth veterans’ nursing facility to Kentucky moved closer to becoming law after its passage in the state House on Monday, Rebecca Hanchett of the Legislation Research Commission reported.

House Bill 24 sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, said his bill would appropriate $2.5 million in state funds needed to complete design and preconstruction work that will expedite construction of the 90-bed facility by as much as six years. The facility will be located in Bowling Green on several acres of donated land.

One hundred percent of the design and preconstruction work must be completed before federal funding will be allocated for the $30 million facility, said Meredith, adding that the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs currently lacks funding needed for the groundwork.

“KDVA did not have enough dollars in their budget to be able to cover the preconstruction costs and design work due to the fact that there is a lot of maintenance on the older facilities that just must be done right now,” he said. HB 24 includes an emergency clause that, should the bill become law, will free up the $2.5 million immediately and make the state “eligible for our federal funds whenever we receive (a federal funding) letter.”

Federal funding is expected to cover $19.5 million of construction of the nursing facility, with the remainder funded with $10.5 million in state bond funds approved in 2017.

Speaking in support of the bill was Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, who said the facility is needed due to a sizeable number of veterans in the Bowling Green area.

“When you look at the veteran population in our part of Kentucky … when you look at those veterans and the fact that they are aging just as we are, one day at a time, we really need this nursing home facility in Bowling Green right now,” said Stone.

HB 24 passed the state House 90-0. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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