Assemblyman Ryan’s Letter to Kaleida Chief Kaskie
by Artvoice Staff (@Artvoice) - posted 10:56 am, July 19, 2013
Dear Mr. Kaskie:
I write today concerning the future of the current Women and Children’s Hospital campus. Last week’s news that the efforts so far to redevelop Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital have failed, has left the Buffalo community with a sense of concern. I join in this concern and wonder what it will mean for redevelopment efforts at the Women and Children’s Hospital campus. I am still trying to understand why you chose a speculative reuse plan for Gates Circle. It would have been more appropriate to choose a project where all the details had been finalized, and redevelopment work could begin immediately. Sixteen months after Gates Circle closed, you have now realized that a speculative project would not work. This community cannot have a speculative project at Women and Children’s Hospital.
While I appreciate your assistance in engaging community involvement so far, I think that the lack of results from Gates Circle shows that Kaleida needs to seriously address this issue, and make important guarantees to the community. Gates Circle had a reuse plan in place, but it continues to sit vacant, sixteen months after it closed. When Kaleida announced back in August of 2012 that a veterinary school would be coming to Buffalo, the public was not told that this plan was highly speculative. The last thing the community wants to see is the Women and Children’s Hospital campus sitting vacant for an extended period of time. With the way things have gone at Gates, I am concerned about Kaleida’s ability to move the process forward for Women and Children’s Hospital. Kaleida must guarantee to the community that a reuse plan will be in place long before the facility closes. In addition, the reuse plan that Kaleida selects, must be non-speculative, and ready to be executed. That was the mistake with Gates Circle. Kaleida chose a development plan that was in the early stages, and was not yet fully realized. A reuse plan for Women and Children’s Hospital must be done ahead of time, so that financing and architectural engineering can be completed prior to the facility closing. To help accomplish these goals, Kaleida must give the public a timeline of how the reuse process for Women and Children’s Hospital will play out, so that you can be held accountable, and stay on track. Kaleida must learn from the mistakes that were made with Gates Circle. I will not, and the community will not tolerate a year long delay in redeveloping the Women and Children’s Hospital campus.
Kaleida made mistakes with Gates, and those mistakes cannot be repeated at Women and Children’s Hospital. Now is the time for Kaleida to issue guarantees to the public that you will not give approval to a speculative, pie-in-the-sky plan for Women and Children’s Hospital. If you approve any plan, it must be thought out, and ready to be executed, far in advance of the day the campus closes. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this important matter.
Sean M. Ryan
Member of Assembly