Federal review clears way for construction of health clinic on Southland Drive

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comApril 18, 2014 

This rendering shows the exterior of the HealthFirst Bluegrass clinic to be built on Southland Drive.


The federal government has signed off on an environmental and historical evaluation of the property at 496 Southland Drive, officially clearing the way for the construction on the $11.7 million HealthFirst public health clinic.

HealthFirst officials released a statement Friday saying the review had been completed and that no significant historical value or environmental problems had been found at the property.

Construction has been in limbo for more than two years, and the lack of the proper review by previous HealthFirst officials nearly scuttled the project completely.

Current HealthFirst executive director Dr. Steve Davis said he is in the final stages of rebidding the contracts, and in some cases tweaking costs, for the clinic.

HealthFirst will soon announce a date for a community meeting with Southland area residents and business owners.

The delay between the unveiling of the design in December 2012 and the first shovel of dirt being turned has to do with the potential historical significance of the property. The buildings on the clinic's site are more than 50 years old, and the federal Historic Preservation Act requires buildings 50 years or older receive a historical evaluation involving state officials and interested community parties, such as the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation and neighborhood associations.

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