BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined federal, state and local leaders to break ground on the Bowling Green Veterans Center, which will provide compassionate care for Kentucky’s veterans.
The $50 million investment will create 120 new jobs and will be the state’s fifth long-term skilled nursing care facility. The 80,000-square-foot facility will provide 60 beds and is being built on 25 acres of land donated by the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority at the Kentucky Transpark in Warren County.
The Governor said efforts have been underway for more than ten years to locate a state veterans’ home in Bowling Green.
“Our veterans are heroes to all Kentuckians, and I could not be more excited to get this project underway,” said Gov. Beshear. “I believe that access to high-quality health care is a basic human right. But when we’re talking about our veterans, it is so much more than that. Providing the best possible care for the people who fight on the front lines of war, save lives in times of natural disasters and throughout the pandemic and defend our way of life is nothing short of a sacred duty.”
This new center will provide compassionate care for Kentucky’s veterans through state-of-the-art equipment, physical therapy and recreational activities. The single-story, 60-bed skilled nursing facility was designed utilizing the VA’s small house design, which provides a private suite for each veteran and will include common living and support areas totaling approximately 80,000 square feet.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a rich history of supporting the men and women in the Armed Forces,” said Senator Rand Paul. “We owe it to those who have served in combat to provide them with quality care sustained in defense of this nation and provide the necessary support tools as they adjust back to civilian life. I’m proud to join everyone in attendance today as we celebrate the groundbreaking of the Bowling Green Veterans Center.”
“Being a veteran myself, finally witnessing the groundbreaking of this veterans home in Bowling Green is a dream come true,” said Senate Majority Whip Mike Wilson of Bowling Green. “Since this project’s inception, seeing all of the hard work come to fruition, along with helping veterans and knowing that it will give them a local place close to their families to spend their later years, is truly rewarding and very fulfilling.”
“This groundbreaking is symbolic of our commitment to recognizing the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our nation. I am thrilled to see the nursing home one step closer to becoming a reality, and it is particularly meaningful that we’re breaking ground less than a week before Veterans Day,” said Rep. Michael Meredith of Oakland. “While the project itself has faced several challenges, I’m grateful that leadership at the local, state and federal level worked together to overcome the odds to deliver for the veterans of South Central Kentucky.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to serving our nation’s veterans, and this facility will enhance our capabilities to fulfill that mission,” said Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) Commissioner Whitney Allen. “The men and women of our armed services have given so much to our country, and through this facility we will continue to serve them, right here in South Central Kentucky for years to come.”
“At the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers, we consider it an honor and a privilege to care for America’s heroes who call Kentucky their home,” said Executive Director Mark Bowman. “Each and every day, our committed staff go above and beyond to provide the highest level of care and services for our veterans. We look forward to the opportunity to serve veterans of Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky.”
“For over 25 years, I’ve worked with local veterans and elected officials to bring this badly needed veterans center to our region. It is a mission that has eluded us for many years and sometimes seemed impossible. This facility will finally serve our veterans, to whom we owe so much more, and I am so thankful to those who finally have closed the deal and are bringing it to fruition,” said Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon. “To be participating in this groundbreaking with KDVA today on this facility brings me great joy and anticipation, and I can’t wait to see the doors officially open.”
“I am grateful to our veterans and elected leaders with the vision to advocate for a veterans nursing home here in Bowling Green, Kentucky,” said Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott. “Colonel and Mrs. Spiller are not here to see this vision come to fruition; however, their legacy continues. It’s humbling to live in a community that serves our nation’s heroes in this way.”
“Throughout my tenure serving on the executive board of the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority, we have fought long and hard to make this project a reality for our region’s veterans. Participating in this groundbreaking today is a long-awaited dream come true,” said Brian Mefford, ITA Board Chairman.
“As a veteran myself, this project is near and dear to my heart. Being able to be a small part of bringing services to those who have sacrificed so much for our country is an honor. I am grateful to city and county leadership, as well as the ITA board, for generously donating the land to make this project possible,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.
“When you have identified and justified the need for something as important as the veterans nursing home, you learn to never quit or back off, just change direction and keep your eye on the prize. Never be satisfied or dissatisfied, simply be unsatisfied until you reach your goal,” said Ray Biggerstaff, with the Cumberland Trace Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
Support for Veterans
Since day one, Gov. Beshear and his administration have been committed to supporting Kentucky’s military community and families.
This year, the Governor signed legislation that cuts state taxes on military retirement pay and simplifies the job certification process for military spouses. Other bills the Governor has signed expanded the Military Family Assistance Trust Fund, improved leave benefits for state employees who serve in the military and added seven active military unit license plates to the 28 military-related plates that were already available.
In the current state budget, the Governor approved funds to support the Bowling Green Veterans Center, the Homeless Veterans Program, staffing at four of the veterans cemeteries, and a permanent memorial honoring Kentucky Medal of Honor recipients at the Campus of Freedom’s Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
The administration is also supporting veterans’ organizations through the Veterans Program Trust Fund, which has granted $262,000 to partners like Honor Flight Bluegrass, Honor Flight Kentucky, the Louisville Chapter of the National Association of Black Veterans and the Homeless Veterans Trust Fund.
To help lift up members of the veteran community who are struggling, Kentucky joined the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.
This year, the Governor also broke ground on a new Louisville VA Medical Center campus. The new center is set to include a Women’s Health Clinic to better serve our female veterans, who deserve not just the best care, but specialized care.
In 2020, the Governor signed House Bill 24, which appropriated $2.5 million to the Kentucky Department of Veterans' Affairs for design and preconstruction costs for the Bowling Green Veterans Center.