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Economic panel backs build of hospital

Another group has offered a letter of support regarding a new Brooks-TLC Hospital System facility on East Main Street in Fredonia.

Earlier this month, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation Local Economic Development committee sent a statement to state Gov. Kathy Hochul noting its backing for the new health-care facility. The letter was signed by the LED committee Chairman Richard Johnson, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation’s Board President Nancy Adams Fry and foundation Executive Director Diane Hannum.

“A self-sustaining hospital providing a comprehensive range of services (primary care, obstetrics, orthopedics, surgery, critical care, emergency medicine, and an extensive range of ancillary services) is vital, not only to the quality of life here but also to the success and advancement of northern Chautauqua County businesses,” the letter said. “All businesses require high-quality, reliable health care. It is essential to keep thriving businesses like Wells Ice Cream and SUNY Fredonia here and draw new companies, like ImmunityBio, to this area. If it would help, the LED, with the support of the (Brooks-TLC) board, would be pleased to sponsor a forum so (New York state) and health officials can address community and industry leaders here.”

Plans for the new hospital first surfaced in March 2016. Since then, the state has set aside $70 million in funding for the project. The process has been slowed by COVID-19 as well as a change of leadership within the state and its Health Department.

“We respectfully urge you, your administration, and the State Department of Health to support the economic health of northern Chautauqua County by rapidly moving the development of this long-anticipated small, new or renovated, full-service hospital forward,” the commitee letter to Hochul notes. “An economically viable hospital is essential to achieve and maintain successful economic development in northern Chautauqua County.”

For 12 years, the Local Economic Development committee has played a critical role in the economic prosperity of northern Chautauqua County by boosting public-private participation and ensuring resources are wisely invested in activities that produce vibrant communities and economic growth opportunities. LED members include many private sector leaders, including former Brooks Memorial Hospital leaders with strong ties to the community.

The LED Committee acts as a catalyst, convener, and coalition-builder among the stakeholder organizations and individuals who build and sustain economic well-being in the northern Chautauqua region. The committee understands how important it is to partner with private, public, and education sector entities to work toward economic prosperity, promoting collective action. Consequently, to further strategic initiatives that enhance the long-term competitiveness of the local economy and drive development in the region, the LED works closely with the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth.

In addition to recommending specific projects and activities to stimulate economic development, the LED also regularly educates, advocates, and uses civic action to increase public awareness on economic and municipal development issues and advocates for specific public policy and private sector investment.

For more information on the committee, visit www.nccfoundation.org or call 716-366-4892.

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