Department of Veterans Affairs

Welcome to today’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

The Department of Veterans Affairs officially took ownership of 624 acres of Alameda Point on Monday, which it hopes to transform into a new, one-stop medical and benefits center, a national cemetery and a wildlife preserve. The department hopes to secure money from Congress to build the $208.6 million project next year, and a staffer said they anticipate it will be open for business in 2018 or 2019.

The Department of Veterans Affairs officially took ownership of 624 acres of Alameda Point on Monday, which it hopes to transform into a new, one-stop medical and benefits center, a national cemetery and a wildlife preserve.

“We are proud that the new One VA facility will call Alameda home,” Mayor Marie Gilmore said during a public ceremony at the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex that included a color guard, speeches and a video offering the history of the former Naval Air Station and renderings of the planned facilities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is holding a public ceremony to commemorate the transfer of hundreds of acres of Alameda Point set to serve as a future clinic and columbarium site.

Contributed graphic.

Alameda’s city leaders offered a unanimous show of support for a future nature reserve at Alameda Point on Tuesday, approving a resolution that affirms the city’s commitment to a wildlife conservation area at the former Navy base and offers support for formally designating more than 500 acres as a conservation area.

Members of the public offered their thoughts Thursday on a planned outpatient clinic and cemetery for veterans at Alameda Point, at a pair of hearings on a former aircraft carrier stationed in another corner of the former Navy base.

The comments, which were offered during hearings on the USS Hornet, will be considered as the Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs finalize an environmental assessment that looks at the project’s potential noise, traffic, wildlife and other impacts.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Navy will be taking comments on a draft environmental assessment of plans to build a clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point at a pair of hearings on the USS Hornet today.

In addition to the Hornet hearings, which are being held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, an additional hearing has been scheduled for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 10 at the Albert H. DeWitt Officers Club and the comment period has been extended to April 19.

Alameda’s City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to support the U.S. Navy’s plan to give 74 acres it had promised to the city to the Department of Veterans Affairs instead, in an effort to move its proposed clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point away from a prime nesting spot for the endangered California Least Tern. The land the VA now hopes to occupy had been slated for park use.

A 112-acre veterans’ cemetery and outpatient clinic the Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to build at Alameda Point won’t have a significant impact on the California Least Tern colony that breeds on the runways nearby, a draft environmental assessment the government released on Friday says – as long as the VA and other agencies follow a list of measures outlined by the federal agency charged with protecting it.