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Hospital closings strongly opposed

Possible hospital closings and plans for a new Wal-Mart drew strong reactions from residents during a meeting of the Evans Town Board Wednesday.

"It is almost a certainty TLC will close," said town Judge Timothy Cooper, chairman of the TLC Health Network, which runs Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving and the Tri-County Memorial Hospital in Gowanda. The closing, he added, would make Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville the closest hospital for many town residents.

A state commission recommended the decertification of 40 medical-surgical beds in the Lake Shore hospital. Cooper said the loss of revenue from those beds would most likely force TLC to close. Any doctors associated with TLC would also be affected by these closings, he said.

Cooper said he is optimistic that the hospitals could stay open if community residents rally behind them.

"We will do everything it takes to stay open," he promised.

Packets of information on the proposals are available at the Gowanda and Irving hospitals, as well as in Evans Town Hall and Angola Village Hall, officials said.

Town Board members and residents alike voiced their support of the medical facilities.

Town Supervisor Robert Catalino said the town would do whatever it could to keep the hospitals open.

The proposed Wal-Mart drew mixed reactions from residents. Representatives from Wal-Mart had met with the board, and submissions to the Planning Board are expected within the month, officials said.

The company last week proposed a new supercenter for the site of the Grandview Drive-in on Route 5 outside Angola.

"We've gotten around 50 calls from residents, with the majority of them being positive," Catalino said. He also said that from his vantage point, many residents of Evans also are in favor of the Wal-Mart.

Catalino also said he is working with the current owner of the Grandview to relocate the drive-in theater to another site.

Two residents spoke out against the project.

In other business, the board:

Noted there will be a small ice rink in Town Park this winter. It will be lighted, but hours have yet to be determined.

Approved a resolution to investigate the expansion of the Sturgeon Point Marina. Currently there are 216 slips available to boat owners.

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