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Senator Johnson Continues Fight to Keep Hot Springs VA Open

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Washington, DC (KELO AM) – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson today said that the designation of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation emphasizes the urgency to keep the Hot Springs Veteran’s Affairs (VA) facilities open.  Battle Mountain Sanitarium is part of the Black Hills Health Care System in Hot Springs that the VA has targeted for closure.

“The placement of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium as one of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places underscores the importance of the Hot Springs VA to our national cultural heritage and to the veterans it serves,” Johnson said.  “The Battle Mountain Sanitarium is a prime example of living American history and must remain open for our veterans’ health care needs and for insight into our nation’s past.” 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation publishes a list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America every year.  The Battle Mountain Sanitarium was included on this year’s list because of the VA’s continued efforts to shut down operations at the Hot Springs VA in the next several years.

In meetings with VA officials and in congressional hearings, Johnson has actively fought against the VA’s proposal to realign the VA Black Hills Health Care System. Johnson also included language in the Fiscal Year 2015 Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill to put the closure of the Hot Springs VA on hold.

At an event today in Hot Springs celebrating the recognition and preservation of Battle Mountain Sanitarium, Johnson sent the following statement:

“The community of Hot Springs has always taken great pride in their history and heritage.  I applaud the continuous efforts to preserve the historical structures of our past for the future generations.  The Battle Mountain Sanitarium has a storied history, beginning more than 100 years ago by serving veterans battling tuberculosis.  Since then, countless veterans have passed though these doors, seeking not only medical treatment, but sharing a unifying commonality of life experiences.  

I believe it is important to continue to bring awareness of our historic landmarks like Battle Mountain Sanitarium to people in our great state of South Dakota and throughout the nation.  We, as the community of Hot Springs, want the rest of the nation to know about the intrinsic as well as extrinsic value of Battle Mountain Sanitarium.  As one of the oldest communities in South Dakota, Hot Springs faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities given its many historic resources.  The Hot Springs community has done a tremendous job of using these resources in the most effective way by attracting visitors and by serving our nation’s veterans for these many years.  Indeed, I am optimistic that Battle Mountain Sanitarium will be a visible representation of a strong and vital community for many more years to come.” 

Courtesy: Senator Johnson

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