The City of Alameda announced on Feb. 22 that it will be preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) project for a health clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point. The VA completed its environmental review for the project in 2013. The deadline for commenting on what the city should evaluate is tomorrow, Friday, March 22.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Alameda Point healthcare facility and columbarium will eliminate about 12 acres of existing wetlands on the runways at Alameda Point. The federal Clean Water Act requires that the VA compensate the city for the adverse effects that this loss will have on its project.
A legacy of disappointment continues on the aircraft runway area at Alameda Point. In the nearly 20 years since the Navy ended operations there, the community has lost 74 acres of open space. This was once slated to become city property, the possibility for a 550-acre national wildlife refuge and a state-of-the-art community hospital to be run jointly with Alameda Healthcare District to serve veterans and non-veterans.
There is still no groundbreaking scheduled for the veterans’ clinic and columbarium.
Pres. Barack Obama’s 2016 budget proposal includes $70 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point. If approved by Congress, the money would go toward site work, utilities, geotechnical work, and wetlands mitigation. But the VA is facing a backlash in Congress over an astronomical cost overrun of nearly $1 billion at its new hospital facility being built in Aurora, Colo., near Denver. Whether this will affect Alameda Point is yet to be seen.
In its 2021 Budget request to Congress, submitted on Feb. 10, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is asking for $152.9 million in additional funding in order to construct the clinic and administrative office building at Alameda Point. Up until now, the VA had funding only for site grading, utilities and road work, the first phase of the cemetery and on-site wetland mitigation.
The observations of former Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) David Shulkin may shed light on why the VA project at Alameda Point continues to be delayed. Building a new clinic at Alameda Point conflicts with the Trump Administration’s goal of privatizing VA healthcare services.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officially took ownership of 624 acres of Alameda Point on Monday. The VA hopes to transform the land into a new, one-stop medical and benefits center, a national cemetery and a wildlife preserve.