With Monday's opening of a new clinic in downtown South Bend, one fight for area veterans, mercifully, is concluding.
The transitional Veterans Affairs clinic, with triple the space of the previous facility, broadens health care to include such help as mental health services, laboratory and audiology care. In the past, those were services that even the sickest and most infirm veterans were sent to Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Chicago to receive.
As a final push to move the project along, the city of South Bend earlier this year provided $3.3 million to buy the former Gates Toyota showroom on the south end of downtown.
That effort and South Bend's excellent location with room to grow on the former Gates property should earn it selection as the site for a permanent 65,000-square-foot VA medical center. It's planned for construction by 2015. And it would be a tremendous boost to the city's revitalization.
The transitional clinic this year is expected to bring 100 workers and between 50,000 and 75,000 patients and their families downtown.
The decision on where the permanent clinic will be is expected by year's end.
In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, and all of those who've helped with the bipartisan work to open a new clinic in the area, deserve to be proud of this outcome for the tens of thousands of area men and women who now will receive improved quality of care.