Council aims to revive debate on Brooks

File photo Saunsanie Kitchko, left, and John Ramos pose on land they own in the town of Dunkirk.

For Brooks-TLC leadership, building a new hospital in Dunkirk looks to be a non-starter. Some in the area still see otherwise.

There were two reminders of that Tuesday at a city Common Council meeting. First, Councilwoman Nancy Nichols, stating that she was asking for some citizens, queried Mayor Wilfred Rosas about the new hospital. Later on, landowner John Ramos sought to gain support for a new hospital on his property near Route 60.

Brooks-TLC intends to build a new hospital on East Main Street in Fredonia, to replace its aging one on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. Construction has been held up for years, allegedly because the state won’t release grant funding for it.

Nichols asked Rosas “if he has made any attempt or is not going to make any attempt on resurrecting Brooks hospital. I promised a group of elderly people that I’d ask the question and I’m bringing it forth to you now.”

Rosas replied, “I just want to again reiterate what I’ve already mentioned — that the Brooks hospital issue has very little to do with the city. We are using as much influence as we can to urge the governor (Kathy Hochul) to release funding.”

However, “the final decision is up to the (Brooks-TLC) board as to where they go and the final decision as far as funding goes is up to the state. If there are city residents that are interested in voicing their opinions, they should be reaching out to the board of directors of Brooks hospital or the governor herself.”

Nichols asked Rosas to confirm that a new hospital is not eligible for Dunkirk’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.

“The DRI funding is not eligible for that but there are other funding sources at the state and federal levels, so maybe those are funding sources that need to be pursued,” Rosas said.

“The issue right now is the plan that the hospital has put in apparently has not been approved at the state (Department of Health).”

Later, Ramos spoke during a public comment period. Ramos promoted his Bennett Road Extension property as a site for a new hospital in a May 2022 OBSERVER article. He did so again Tuesday.

Ramos asserted he had recently spoken with Hochul and her representatives “and I was told that with some support from the city, things could look pretty good for us.”

He said, “I’m here asking for support and believe that with support from all of you, there’s a possibility that hospital stays in the Dunkirk area.”

The property in question is 39.5 acres off Bennett Road Extension, bordered by Main Street Extension and the Thruway. It’s technically in the town of Dunkirk, not the city.


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