Thursday, April 19, 2012

NIMBY in the Bluegrass

NIMBY stands for Not In My BackYard, as in:
  • I know we need a new school in this area, but Not In My BackYard
  • I want a grocery store closer to my home, but Not In My BackYard
  • I want a new playground that my kids can use, but Not In My BackYard
  • I support the troops and all that, and I agree that Louisville's veteran's hospital is old and needs to be replaced with a new one, but Not In My BackYard
That last one is playing itself out as we speak.  The veteran's hospital here is over-used, under-maintained, and undersized for the wave of older veterans of Vietnam and younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are expected to be using the VA system more and more in coming years.

One of the places where a new hospital may be built is where one of the local major highways intersects with a major local artery.  There are already two hospitals in the area, including one specifically for children, many doctors' offices, and restaurants.  There are also some very nice places to live, and that seems to be the sticking point.

The requirements for this hospital, as I understand them, are:
  • Easy access from major highways
  • Room for ample parking
  • Parking where veterans and their families, many of whom are physically disabled, can easily get to the hospital
  • Room to build a facility that can grow as demand for services grows
  • Easy access to support facilities such as hotels and restaurants
The other two options are to either renovate the existing hospital or to build a new hospital in downtown Louisville.  The existing hospital site cannot be improved enough to have room for demand and the parking area is tiny and badly graded.  Building downtown would restrict the site to one or two places, parking would be a nightmare, and would cost much more than building out in the suburbs.

Some people who would live near a new VA hospital in this area are raising concerns about traffic, light pollution, and noise.  To them I say this:  Shame on you.

I am a veteran, and I am grateful that I do not need the services of the VA.  Yeah, I have aches and pains that I can attribute to one or two things that happened in uniform, but they pale in comparison to the wounds and ailments that the VA treats.  Our veterans deserve the best facility we can provide.

I also live a few miles from this facility.  I drive past the site I think they're talking about pretty often.  Will a new hospital cause some traffic congestion?  Yes, it probably will.  Was I raised right and know that my inconvenience is a small price to pay for proper facilities to treat and care for those who gave up their youth and their health for me and mine?  You bet I do.

It shouldn't take a Medal of Honor recipient like Dakota Meyer to stand up and shame those who are more worried about property values than debts of honor and blood before people start doing the right thing.  I am reaching out to my Senators and Congressmen to support this building site for the new VA hospital in Louisville, and if you have a mind to, I ask that you do so as well.


Mad Jack said...

If you attend any meeting with the NIMBYs in attendance you might emphasize that one way or another, something is going to be built here. Now... you could have a big box store, like a super WalMart or something similar, which, when it goes out of business will leave a huge empty building and a large, dark parking lot. Or you could have a nice, new high rise apartment development... kind of like Cabrini Green, complete with unsupervised groups of disenfranchised youth who all want to become entrepreneurs, musicians and supporters of the prison system.

Or you could have a hospital, and if the hospital has any kind of emergency services, so much the better. How would you like to be right next door to an ER staff when your diet finally catches up to you and you have a problem in the boiler room?

I have a certain amount of sympathy for NIMBYs and I helped defeat a new Home Depot store that was planning to build in an empty lot - where we now have a hospital.

Auntie J said...

*salute* Right on.

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