RADCLIFF, Ky. (AP) — Work has begun on a veteran's center planned in central Kentucky even though officials are still awaiting final approval from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ken Lucas told The News-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/13LGSsK) that the project in Radcliff has gotten preliminary approval and there's no indication that it won't get final approval soon.
"It's gone through eight of the 11 different departments with no hang-ups," he said. "I'd say we'd get (approval) in the next 10 days to two weeks."
A construction bid for the Radcliff Veterans Center nursing facility has already been awarded and excavation at the site, which is adjacent to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central, is underway.
Lucas said he has requested a groundbreaking ceremony be held on Sept 18.
Lucas says the final cost of the facility is estimated at $40 million, with the state paying 35 percent and the federal government paying 65 percent.
He said work on the fourth nursing center in Kentucky authorized specifically for veterans should be completed in 2015. It will have 120 beds and employ between 160-200 workers.
Others facilities are located in Hanson, Hazard and Wilmore.
The center is being built on 185 acres at Fort Knox allocated by the Department of Defense, which also has additional land available for expansion of the cemetery.
Officials in Hardin County have been working toward a nursing center for veterans since the early 1990s, when the center in Wilmore was completed, said Dave Jarrett, a Disabled American Veterans service officer.
He said the center in Hardin County in important because it has a high concentration of veterans due to Fort Knox.
"Kentucky has been very diligent. as far as ensuring veterans benefits and care and cemeteries are at the highest state possible," he said. "We have waited on this for years, and our day has finally come."
Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall said the center will provide needed services to the large veteran community and will complements the cemetery.
"It's an honor to have these two facilities in our city," Duvall said.
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com