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COUNTY Hospital is proof we’re stronger as 1

Northern Chautauqua County is still buzzing over Monday’s significant announcement by state Gov. Kathy Hochul to release funding for a new Brooks-TLC Hospital System. Just as important was the support at the event.

More than 350 elected officials, community members and business leaders were in attendance for the high-profile happening in the Williams Center on the State University of New York at Fredonia campus. Even though the $74 million took too long to become reality — a more than eight-year wait, it was likely needed to happen.

For starters, Brooks-TLC needed a better plan to control the challenging fiscal realities of health care. With Kaleida Health joining in the mix, it creates much more stability for the operation.

It also brings more opportunities for the region. Hochul, a Western New Yorker, knows how vital the project is — and what it means to the community’s future.

“This is a big win for Dunkirk, Fredonia and all of Chautauqua County,” she said Monday. “This is the day everything changed for Chautauqua County.”

It all happened because we worked together. That is the important lesson for all of us, especially those who seem bent on maintaining municipal borders and separate school districts in a region of declining population.

Those archaic silos create division and unneeded petty issues that hold us back. Coming together as one, like the county did on Brooks-TLC, is a tremendous and powerful result that will have positive ripples for decades to come.

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