Veterans react to news of new VA Hospital site

Veterans react to news of new VA Hospital site
The site chosen for the new VA Hospital (Source: Air 3, WAVE 3 News)
The site chosen for the new VA Hospital (Source: Air 3, WAVE 3 News)
Joey Gravatte (Source: Andreina Centlivre/WAVE 3 News)
Joey Gravatte (Source: Andreina Centlivre/WAVE 3 News)
Joseph Doebler (Source: Andreina Centlivre/WAVE 3 News)
Joseph Doebler (Source: Andreina Centlivre/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After years of controversy and heated debate, Louisville's new Veterans Affairs Hospital will finally be built at a site off Brownsboro Road.

The land near the Watterson Expressway has been the target of criticism from neighbors and government officials.

The new hospital will replace the aging Robley Rex Medical Center off Zorn Avenue, which cannot keep pace with the healthcare demand from veterans.

>> RELATED: Neighbors hope to tie up site chosen for VA Hospital in court

WAVE 3 News talked to a veteran at AMVET Post #1 in Germantown, who was taking a break between chemo treatments on Friday.

"It's incurable," Joey Gravatte said.

Gravatte receives medical services from the VA.

"It's clean and it's good," Gravatte said. "People who work there are good."

Gravatte is happy with the care he receives at Robley Rex VA Medical Center and doesn't think the change in location will affect him.

The Executive Director of AMVETS Department of Kentucky said many other veterans don't favor the move.

"I have been to so many meetings over the years leading up to this, and out of all of the meetings I've attended, 90% of the veterans wanted to stay at Zorn Avenue," Joseph Doebler said.

The Department of Veteran Affairs said in 2017, Robley Rex VAMC and its eight community health care centers saw about 45,000 patients. That number is expected to increase to more than 68,000 over the next seven years.

"That project has been going on for a long time," Mayor Greg Fischer said.

"I think what is best for the veterans needs to take the top priority."

Mayor Fisher said the city will not push back on the VA's decision.

Councilwoman Angela Leet is concerned with the location of the new VA hospital not being centrally located. She said she stands against the part of the plan that closes three VA clinics.

Gravette doesn't expect to see changes anytime soon and doesn't feel he has the power to change the decisions made.

"I like the hospital where it is at," Gravatte said. "But there is nothing you can do about it that's just the government. If they are moving, then they are moving."

It will be several years until a new VA Hospital will be built.

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