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By SHARON GRAVES
The Veterans Administration will bring a health-care center to Carrollton.
Rumors throughout the community for the past few weeks – that the VA would set up shop at Traderbaker Flea Market on State Hwy. 227 – turned out to be true.
Market owners Patti and Jeff Baker said they have been notified that VA selected their site. They are turning 10,000 square feet – about one-third of their space – to the VA for the new health-care facility.
Traderbaker will continue to operate at that location.
Connie Smalley, the VA’s administrative officer for ambulatory care, officially announced the location Friday, Sept. 26, at a press conference in the old courtroom on the second floor of the Carroll County Courthouse.
Until the space at Traderbakers can be converted according to government specifications, the VA on Friday opened a temporary clinic at Carroll County Memorial Hospital. It will be sharing space with the physician’s specialty care center.
Construction of the permanent facility at Traderbaker is expected to be complete within 90 days.
“This will be a state-of-the-art facility, and we will have primary-care services, mental-health services, a pharmacist, a nutritionist and social workers on site,” Smalley said.
“This is very exciting for us,” she continued. “Everyone has just been fantastic to work with, and we could not have made this happen without all the help we have received.”
Dr. Lynn Speevack, a military veteran and the VA’s associate chief of staff for ambulatory care, said plans for the Carroll County facility were finalized just in time for the end of the VA’s fiscal year, Sept. 30.
“There are lots of hoops to jump through, and I think we missed a few hoops a long the way; but I think we have everything right now,” Speevack said. “They are cutting concrete and putting up walls [at the Traderbaker site] now.”
At the same time, the VA is establishing similar facilities in Grayson County, Ky., and Scott County, Ind.
“We are really grateful to the local hospital for helping us get this open for now,” Speevack said. “We kind of barged in there, and they were kind enough to make space for us. ... We are trying not to displace anybody.”
The clinic expects to be open approximately two days a week while at the hospital. Once the permanent facility opens, regular hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, Speevack said.
Veterans from a seven-county area – Carroll, Trimble, Gallatin, Owen, and Henry counties in Kentucky, and Jefferson and Switzerland counties in Indiana – are expected to benefit from the clinic.
“This is a very exciting time for Carroll County, and this area has always had a lot of veterans.” said county Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson. “This is a great day for the count,y and it will have economic impact.”