FILE - PA former veterans hospital

The former Highland Drive VA hospital campus is seen in Pittsburgh.

(The Center Square) – The city of Pittsburgh has acquired the former VA hospital campus on Highland Drive campus in Lincoln-Lemington – for free.

Plans for the property include a Public Safety Training Academy, Public Safety Department and Emergency Management headquarters, home for police K-9 and mounted units, and storage of emergency response and winter and weather response vehicles and equipment.

The facility closed as a hospital in 2013.

With the Public Safety facilities on Highland Drive, the city will move out of the properties it owns on the Strip District riverfront and the Emergency Medical Services headquarters in Shadyside, and opt out of leases for Police Headquarters and the Police Training Academy in Chateau and Allegheny West.

Public Safety facilities on Washington Boulevard will be relocated to allow for stormwater management solutions in the flood-plagued Washington Boulevard corridor.

The move will save millions of taxpayer dollars spent on private property leases for the Department of Public Safety, and the city will move key municipal-owned properties and parcels back onto tax rolls.

Earlier this year, the federal government approved the property use by the city as a Public Safety complex and signed a memorandum of understanding on transferring the property.

“This site provides us with a historic opportunity that we cannot let pass us by,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a news release. “We can advance sustainable green development in the city, provide a solution to decades of intractable flood mitigation challenges in the area, offer the best in life-saving training to personnel from around the region, and expand the City’s tax base."