FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear is proposing a complicated land swap and financing deal involving the state, the University of Kentucky and city of Lexington to build a new $129 million mental health hospital.
Eastern State Hospital, which accepted its first patient in 1824, has become outdated and beyond renovation, Beshear said at a Capitol press conference Friday. Now, Beshear is proposing a new hospital be built on UK-owned land that would include residential and outpatient mental health services.
"This is a win for everybody," Beshear said. "Especially that population of Kentuckians in critical need of mental health services."
Mental health advocates have been pushing for a new Eastern State Hospital to replace the existing facility that the Kentucky General Assembly first authorized nearly four decades before the Civil War.
Beshear's proposal would lead to a new Eastern State hospital at UK's Coldstream Research Campus in Lexington. Meanwhile, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College would get a new classroom-laboratory building where the current hospital is located, and UK would get land currently occupied by the community
State legislators and members of the Lexington-Fayette Urban
County Government must still authorize the deal.