Brooks Hospital Eyes Fredonia Move

DUNKIRK — Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. announced on Wednesday it intends to pursue a new site for its new hospital.

The proposed 30-acre site is located on East Main Street just west of Route 60 in the village of Fredonia.

“As we moved through 2018, it became apparent that the town of Pomfret site was not going to come to fruition in a timely manner,” said Chris Lanski, chairman of the Brooks-TLC Hospital System Board of Directors. “It was clear that their timeline did not match ours. While we respect that, it became clear to our Board of Directors that it was time to move on. So, we took action and made the decision on the location change. We believe building the new hospital on the Fredonia site is the correct decision and we can’t wait to get started.”

The previous site considered for the hospital was on Route 20 across from the Sears store in Pomfret. The new site, on the same side of Route 20 but in Fredonia, was formerly home to a Cornell Cooperative Extension grape farm and research facility.

The hospital system filed paperwork Wednesday with the village of Fredonia to kick off the municipal planning process for the new site.

According to the press release from Brooks-TLC Hospital System Inc. announcing the change of plans, “Planning issues and zoning challenges with the town of Pomfret site were among a handful of issues that caused over a year of delay in attempting to begin construction on the new facility.

“With the project unable to move forward in a timely manner, it became apparent to the Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. board that securing a secondary site was essential to ensure the viability of building a new hospital for the region,” the release continues.

“I haven’t heard back from them about doing it in Pomfret for months,” Pomfret Town Supervisor Don Steger said Wednesday. “I knew they were looking at other sites.” Steger said he had no further statements about the move.

The village of Fredonia site was one of the final sites considered (out of 24) for the new hospital during the original site selection process.

Fredonia Village Trustee Doug Essek called the announcement “fantastic news” in an email to the OBSERVER. “Having a state fo the art health care facility will provide our community a much needed facility to enhance the daily lives of our citizens, and attract others to come here for their medical needs,” he wrote.

“We are hopeful that working with the village of Fredonia, the New York State Department of Health and DASNY, we will see construction begin on Chautauqua County’s newest hospital in 2019,” said Mary LaRowe, president and CEO of Brooks-TLC Hospital System.

“Planning for a new facility is exciting,” Essek said in his statement. “I am confident that the proper planning and vetting will be done to make this a good fit. Meeting the hospital’s infrasturcture needs will be critical to help ensure the future success of the hospital.”

LaRowe added that an announcement will be coming soon about a community advisory committee that will help guide future redevelopment of the current Brooks Memorial Hospital campus in Dunkirk.

“We are committed to creating an approach for the re-use of the Central Avenue campus,” LaRowe said. “This community-based advisory group will play a key role in creating a future vision for the campus.”

Essek stated that he hopes the Dunkirk building “can be repurposed for a methadone clinic, or other substance abuse services or mental health care.”

Funding for the hospital project comes through the New York State Department of Health with a $57 million Essential Health Care Provider Support Program grant award and $17 million in additional funding from a Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program grant.