Embracing a new facility

No matter how slow it seems New York state can move, Albany can get testy when things do not happen as quick as it wants. That is why the Fredonia Planning Board approval of the Brooks Memorial Hospital plans are a positive sign.

For years, Brooks has been bleeding cash going from a reserve fund of more than $17 million to assets of just about $3 million, according to the most recent 990 Internal Revenue Service tax returns. Most of that money was lost through poor management decisions while other chunks of losses were due to changes in the health-care landscape.

A new hospital will not fix all that ails the current Brooks leadership or its board, but it brings the institution some newfound stability. The state-of-the-art facility is coming from New York state funds — nearly $70 million, not a major local fund-raising effort.

Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis, who has a background in health care, certainly understands what is at stake. “Not only do we have a new hospital, but also to assure that health care in the area is secure,” she said. “That’s the main thing for me, to make sure the people of this area, all 30,000 people, have secure health care.”

Whether it is located on Central Avenue in Dunkirk — or off Route 20 in Fredonia, having a hospital needs to be the ultimate goal for every resident here.