Beatrice Mayor Stan Wirth suggests the old hospital be repurposed to serve veterans. Mayor Wirth says it could be staffed by local clinicians and doctors providing outpatient care as there are 1,700 veterans in the six-county area.
“Those individuals, if they’re going to go for service, they’ll need to go to a C-BOC, a community-based outpatient clinic in Hastings, midtown Omaha, Topeka, Kansas,” Wirth says, “and some of those individuals don’t like negotiating those distances.”
Wirth says the project could serve veterans all across southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas.
The mayor says, “We hopefully would partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist some of those veterans in transition, some of those that are needing a little direction and maybe some skills for employment possibilities.”
Wirth says he’s met with Southeast Community College to assist with training for veterans. Wirth says he plans to work with the Gage County Veterans Service Office, state officials and Senator Deb Fischer’s office on the prospect of making use of the former hospital.
The project would have to be approved by the U.S. Veterans Administration. Recently, both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Southeast Community College unveiled programs to assist veterans.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice