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Major engine leaving region

Gowanda Mayor David Smith summed it up as well as he could. The planned closing of the Gowanda Correctional Facility is “terrible news” to this region.

“To get news right before the holidays that a March 31 closing is imminent is a huge piece of bad news for this community that has worked hard to fight through this pandemic and so much more,” he said.

For a region that has had its share of pain, which includes serious issues of horrible flooding that forever closed a hospital to minor bickering on the school board, this is one more wound. Many communities that have strong downtowns, and Gowanda is one, have an identity. In Fredonia, it’s the state university. In Dunkirk, it’s a strong — and growing manufacturing sector.

Gowanda, however, relies on this economic engine that the state has decided is no longer needed. The timing was cruel, but announcing a major closing such as this never comes at a good occasion.

Jobs at the facility are likely to be relocated to other sites, including the Lakeview Shock location in Brocton. But there’s a heart of Gowanda that is not beating as strong. It is one bitter pill.

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