Brooks-TLC buys Fredonia land for facility

A positive step toward a new Brooks-TLC Hospital System Inc. facility in northern Chautauqua County has been taken. On Tuesday afternoon, leaders at the health-care location confirmed the purchase of the former Cornell Cooperative Extension site near the roundabout on East Main Street in the village of Fredonia.

Ken Morris, president and chief executive officer at Brooks-TLC, said the funding and support for the land acquisition came from the state Health Department. “We are excited to confirm the purchase of the property … for the construction of the new hospital,” he said.

In 2016 and 2017, New York state had set aside $74 million for a new state-of-the-art facility that would replace the current location at 529 Central Ave. in Dunkirk. Confirmation of the property ownership is the first real signal in more than five years that the state is still moving ahead with plans for a new build.

While upbeat about the information, Morris remained cautious in a statement. “There is still a lot of work to do and still certain questions to address regarding the parcel,” he said. “We are hopeful this step helps to move us forward and affirms our commitment to providing continued access to quality health care with a new, state-of-the-art hospital for the north county community.”

Concerns over the finances at the north county provider, which lost $55 million from 2018 to 2021, led to the push for a new, but downsized facility. Plans for the Brooks-TLC micro hospital call for emergency services with 12 bays, 15 medical and surgical beds, four surgical suites and two rooms for procedure, imaging with CT scans, MRI and ultrasound, stat lab services, a pharmacy, support services and a helipad.

A commission convened last fall to review the Brooks-TLC proposal for a new northern Chautauqua County medical facility called the building “essential” while noting in its report “it is in the best interests of all parties for New York state to do what is necessary to see this project accomplished.” Those who were part of the commission included Chairman Richard Ketcham, former chief executive officer of Brooks; Dr. Robert Berke, who served in the past as county health commissioner; Anthony J. Cooper, who previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Arnot Health System in Elmira; and Charles Nazzaro, who served as chief financial officer for UPMC Chautauqua.

As for what’s next, Morris said discussions need to continue. “There’s further dialogue that’s required,” he said.


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