EAs require review of a potential project’s impact on air quality, land use, water quality, wildlife, economics, and other impacts. We are also required to address how the project will mitigate these impacts. EAs must be posted for public comment for 30 days. We reviewed local meteorology and potential air quality concerns at three potential sites, prepared the EA’s air quality sections, and our NEPA specialist Rob Bates reviewed public comments on the EA. The EA resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), allowing the project to proceed without requiring us to complete a NEPA Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that would have slowed the project down by years and put federal funding in limbo.
MVAA recently announced that they will be constructing CLCs at a former military housing facility in Macomb County known as Sebille Manor, and at the existing Grand Rapids Home for Veterans in Kent County. Each of the 128-bed CLCs will house veterans in four neighborhoods with a community center area. The CLCs emphasize layouts that create common living spaces for socialization, dining, and activities. The CLC is intended to provide nursing, domiciliary, and adult daycare services in a home-like environment, rather than typical dormitory-style housing used at many VA facilities. Medical services will be geared to serve the special needs of veterans including elder care, physical and occupational therapy, and mental health services in an environment with military values and structure. The neighborhood buildings include resident rooms (with private bathrooms), shared kitchen and dining facilities, and shared living spaces. The community center building includes multipurpose rooms, a chapel, café and bistro, occupational and physical therapy spaces, medical offices, and administrative offices. The grounds surrounding the facility are designed for additional recreation and exercise opportunities with landscaped walking paths and gardens.
Governor Rick Snyder issued a statement saying that the proposed CLCs realize “our goal to expand accessibility to long-term care facilities for Michigan’s veterans,” and that the project “is a significant achievement for the state of Michigan as we move forward to modernize and expand long-term care services to Michigan veterans.” The long-term plan is to construct seven new MVAA facilities across Michigan.
I am proud to have helped pave the way for modern state-of-the-art housing for our veterans, and look forward to working with P&N on other VA facilities in the near future.