By LYNSIE DICKERSON
Gold Standard Staff Writer
Community leaders along with local residents and veterans gathered Sept. 18 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Radcliff Veterans Center. The center, which will be located off of North Logsdon Parkway in Radcliff, will serve as a nursing facility for Kentucky veterans.
“This is a great day in the history of Hardin County,” said Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry. Leaders from local government and the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs made remarks and Governor Steven Beshear gave the keynote address. The ceremony also included music by the North Hardin High School Wind Symphony, recognition of veterans and honored guests in attendance and the groundbreaking.
“This is one of the only facilities located here in Kentucky that is located adjacent to a military post,” said J.J. Duvall, mayor of Radcliff. “We have one of the highest rates of retirees …it’s about time we had a veterans center built here in Radcliff, Kentucky.”
The first application for this facility was submitted to government in 2006, said Ken Lucas, commissioner
of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
The facility will be made up of four “neighborhoods,” each consisting of three homes with 10 beds per home for a total of 120 beds. Each home will also have a kitchen, living room and dining room.
“The design of the building is very unique,” said Gilda Hill, executive director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers. “We are moving from a medical model more to a
home-like model…it will be more like a home rather than a nursing home or a hospital.”
There are an estimated 56,000 veterans in Jefferson County, 16,000 in Hardin County, 7,000 in Bullit County and 5,000 in Oldham County, Beshear said, adding that this facility is “sorely needed.”
“We have in Kentucky a very strong and proud tradition of military service. And our veterans have sacrificed a lot to protect the freedoms and the comforts that we certainly at times take for granted,” Beshear said. “However, as our veterans grow old, it is our responsibility to give back to them by providing the care that they need.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided a $21.45 million construction grant and the Kentucky General Assembly provided $18.6 million in construction funds. Fort Knox negotiated the transfer of 194 acres of its land to the state for the facility.
This is the fourth veterans center in Kentucky.
“This is exciting; this is a wonderful thing for the community,” Army retiree Joe Williams said following the ceremony.
The facility is expected to open in June of 2015.