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Hopes on rise for new Brooks-TLC

Ken Morris has been speaking to community stakeholders about the facility in recent months.

There is growing optimism regarding the construction of a new Brooks-TLC Hospital in the village of Fredonia. In recent months, according to unnamed officials, some of the top leaders in the state capital have taken note of the need for a new health-care facility that would serve northern Chautauqua, western Cattaraugus and southern Erie counties.

Though the project was not included in the state budget that was passed in late April, Brooks-TLC officials kept a positive tone. During a March community gathering at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, a presentation indicated deficits totaling more than $60 million since 2018 at the outdated and aging facility at 529 Central Ave. in Dunkirk could be reduced to $671,000 in 2030 at a new, state-of-the art facility.

Ken Morris, chief executive officer and president of Brooks-TLC Health System, could not be reached for comment this week. However, in April, he did speak of the importance of keeping health care local.

“Our project focus since funding was first appropriated in 2016, has been and remains, the improvement and modernization of healthcare delivery in the most fiscally responsible way possible,” Morris said in April. “The new hospital is the means to that end. Our cautious optimism continues and accordingly, we continue to work with the Gov. (Kathy) Hochul’s office, the state Department of Health, elected officials and community partners to bring this vision to fruition. In addition to this, our efforts are ongoing with Kaleida Health, GPPC, UBMD, UB Neurosurgery and others, to recruit new providers and retain those who have established relationships with our community. It is our commitment to provide high value care and much-needed services to keep care close to home.”

More than $70 million for the project was announced in 2016 and 2017. However, fiscal battles in Albany, a COVID pandemic and northern Chautauqua County’s debate over the future location, had slowed the project from reaching the finish line.

Plans for the proposed structure include 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.

Last June, Brooks-TLC announced it had secured the former Cornell Cooperative Extension site to the west of the roundabout on East Main Street with support from the state Health Department.

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