Reuse panel named for Brooks site

Special to the OBSERVER

The Brooks-TLC board of directors has announced its community-based reuse process to help guide future use of the site.

Virginia Horvath, president of the State University of New York at Fredonia and Lou DiPalma, vice president for the Dunkirk-based Lake Shore Savings, have been named co-chairs of the citizens advisory committee. Both are members of the Brooks-TLC Board of Directors.

“We are committed to an open dialogue regarding the future reuse of the Brooks Memorial Hospital campus,” said Horvath. “We understand the concerns of immediate neighbors, community leaders, and citizens in general, that the reuse of this property should help improve quality of life in the neighborhood. At the same time, the Board of Directors and leadership team at Brooks-TLC must also address their responsibility to make decisions that advance the mission of the organization – to improve the health of our community.”

The committee is designed to give the hospital board of directors advice and counsel about redevelopment of the site. Other members of the group include:

¯ Nate Aldrich, community economic development specialist.

¯ Marty Bamonto, member of city of Dunkirk Common Council.

¯ Diane Hannum, executive director, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.

¯ Shaun Heenan, member of city of Dunkirk Common Council.

¯ Tom Panasci, owner, Pizza Village.

¯ Steve Rees, Revitalize Dunkirk, Inc.

¯ Willie Rosas, mayor of the city of Dunkirk.

¯ Christine Schuyler, director of Health and Human Services, Chautauqua County Health Department.

¯ Loretta Slaton Torain, director of Upward Bound Program.

¯ Rebecca Yanus, director of Planning & Development for City of Dunkirk.

This cross-section of community members will serve on a Citizens Advisory Committee, a non-binding entity advising the board of directors. Members have been chosen to reflect a diversity of viewpoints across the community — immediate neighbors, local business people, leaders of community based organizations, professionals with relevant expertise, people from major community institutions and more.

In general, the committee will be asked to provide both substantive advice on proposals for reuse of the property as well as advice on how Brooks-TLC might better engage the community as a whole.

Specifically, the committee will be asked to develop a draft statement of “community vision and values” for review by the broader community, to review draft materials created as part of any developer solicitation process, and to advise on the concept and design for the ongoing public engagement process.

DiPalma said, “The CAC will have a deep and open conversation about the possibilities for the Central Avenue property and the neighborhood in which it sits. Members represent themselves and, where appropriate, their organizations. But the members of the CAC are also asked to serve as a conduit for others to learn about the process and to contribute in their own ways.”

The group held its first meeting recently and will continue to meet monthly throughout 2019. At the same time, plans will continue for the construction of the new Brooks Memorial-TLC hospital. The hospital has faced challenges and delays over the past year due to municipal planning issues.

In 2017, Brooks Memorial Hospital, TLC Health Network and Kaleida Health announced their intentions to affiliate. The vision of the three parties is to form an integrated delivery system.

Kaleida Health has been working with five Southern Tier hospitals over the past year to implement their respective affiliation agreements. A new “twin tier” network is now forming to take advantage of the capabilities and market presence of Upper Allegheny Health System (Olean and Bradford, Pa), Brooks Memorial, TLC and Cuba Memorial Hospitals.