Forum is another call for a new Brooks-TLC

Ken Morris speaks to those in attendance Tuesday at the community forum on a new Brooks-TLC location.

It was billed as a community forum to construct a new Brooks-TLC Hospital System. While plenty of information was presented, the message was clear: New York state needs to release more than $70 million to the health-care operation so a build can begin.

About 65 community residents, staff members and union officials attended the event Tuesday night at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School in Dunkirk to show their support for a new facility that would be located in Fredonia just west of the roundabout and across from the Fredonia Central Schools. Since March 2016, money was set aside by the state for the construction to take place.

Nearly eight years later, officials are still waiting. Sponsored by the SEIU 1199 and New York State Nurses Association, the event chronicled the hospital’s previous fiscal struggles and its ambitions to get a new state of the art building that would keep health care in northern Chautauqua County.

“This fight has been going on for a long, long time,” said Greg Reynoso, NYSNA political and community organizer. “We have to turn up the heat so we don’t lose the care in this community that we serve.”

Also speaking was Ken Morris, Brooks-TLC president and chief executive officer. He said a new site will help in the organization’s sustainability in the region for future years.

State Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is from Western New York, has not yet committed to releasing the funds for construction at the location. “Gov. Kathy Hochul is committed to ensuring that every New Yorker has access to essential health services where and when they need it most, and the Department of Health continues to work closely with local stakeholders, Brooks Memorial Hospital leadership and other healthcare providers in Chautauqua County,” noted the statement last fall from a department spokeswoman that offers no indication of a new hospital being part of the picture.


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