Rally Brings Support For Building Of New Hospital
DUNKIRK — Inside the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk, more than 125 area residents, Brooks-TLC Hospital System employees as well as local officials attended a rally to support rural health care with the building of a new facility. Outside, however, were about 20 city of Dunkirk residents who do not want Brooks to leave the city limits.
Brooks-TLC, which is aiming to build a $70 million state-of-the-art facility, planned the Saturday morning event with the urging of former state Sen. Catharine Young. Besides Mary E. LaRowe, president and chief executive officer at Brooks-TLC, Chris Lanski, current hospital board chair, and Dan Pacos, Pomfret town supervisor, spoke at the 30-minute event.
Young, who during her time as state senator, helped secure the funding for a potential new hospital called on those in attendance to reach out to Gov. Kathy Hochul to release the funds so the project can begin.
Pacos, however, made the most significant plea of all the speakers noting the importance of having a community hospital. “The current facility is outdated and is causing the organization to bleed red ink,” he said. “We need to fix that. We need our hospital.”
Brooks-TLC, over the past five years, has run deficits of more than $45 million putting it on the brink of insolvency.
While Pacos, current Fredonia village Trustees Jim Lynden and Michelle Twichell and County Legislator Kevin Muldowney attended the event, those who did not were even more noticeable. State Sen. George Borrello and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell did not attend while County Executive PJ Wendel, who was committed to attending on Thursday afternoon, changed his plans. Also not at the Clarion was current Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek.
Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas was outside the Clarion following the rally. He wants reassurances for the current Brooks property that stretches from Sixth to Fifth Streets on Central Avenue if the institution does move.
“We want the state to help us repurpose that site,” he said, noting low-income city residents will be hurt by facility’s potential move to Fredonia.
“Without any form of public transportation here, that is going to create an issue,” Rosas said.