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You’re paying for a new Brooks

Newsmaker of the month: A hospital’s impending move

When it comes to dropping millions of tax dollars into improving or building on to our schools, residents hardly ever give it a second thought. Go ahead, they almost always approve through a vote, it is free money.

But funds to communities, whether it be from grants or the state, always come with a price. Why else would New York state have such a tough time shedding its image as being a high tax, tough place to do business?

But when New York state and the Health Department have offered $70 million for a new hospital, residents are up in arms. Why can’t that funding be used to renovate the current facility? Why not build at the current site?

Many of the reasons for the some of the public’s opposition has been brought upon by the Brooks Memorial Hospital board of directors and Kaleida Health. Since 2008 when the last community meeting was held, the hospital has refused to be open with the public.

Hospital board of directors do not want to speak publicly about what is happening. Proposed property locations for the new site are kept quiet until the very last minute. And more recently, a group meeting about the reuse of the current site is doing so privately with no community interaction.

The message being sent to the full community: we’re doing what we want. We don’t need your input.

While that is certainly acceptable since the hospital is a private, not-for-profit entity, community residents do care about where it ends up — and what is happening.

Last week, for the first time, a hospital official — a hired attorney — spoke publicly about the proposed new hospital and its location at the former Cornell Cooperative Extension site. It was a start, but instead of a discussion, it came across as a dictation.

Brooks and TLC are receiving $70 million in state funding for this facility. We, in a sense, are paying for this.

Those hospital officials and board members need to be a little more grateful — and open — about it.

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