Supporters of building a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green hope a new feasibility study will help make the project a reality.
The study identified south central Kentucky as the region most in need of a long-term care facility for veterans. The two closest facilities are in Radcliff and Hanson, each more than 60 miles away from Bowling Green.
The study looked at the projected veteran population through 2043. Kentucky is currently home to around 330,000 veterans. While the number of veterans is expected to decrease by about 80,000 by 2043, Kentucky is expected to see an increase in retired female service members. Commissioner Norman Arflack in the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs says the need reflects the changing military dynamic.
"We have several female Vietnam veterans in the state right now," explained Arflack. "Post 9/11, we saw a significant increase in the female veteran population, so as they age, there's going to be a higher need for those in our facilities."
The state has filed plans for a 90-bed nursing home in Bowling Green, but the project has not received state or federal funding. Kentucky must commit $10 million in state funding before the federal government will kick in $20 million for the project. State funding wasn’t included in the last two-year Kentucky budget.