Carthage hospital delays plans for new campus

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 3:55 PM EST
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TOWN OF CHAMPION, New York (WWNY) - Carthage Area Hospital is delaying plans to build a new campus after pulling its application from a major funding source.

“Despite the red tape and the challenges, we’re still pushing forward because it’s vital for the future of the hospital,” said Rich Duvall, hospital CEO.

The vision is a bigger and better Carthage Area Hospital along State Route 26 in the town of Champion. A road is nearly finished. Water and sewer lines are ready to go.

However, environmental concerns have forced the hospital to pull its United States Department of Agriculture application. The USDA has an issue with wetlands on the property.

“There’s a new wetlands setback rule which requires us to look at different parcels in the same area to move forward with the project,” said Duvall.

Knowing it couldn’t do so by the November 2022 deadline, it was forced to pull out.

If the USDA had approved the hospital’s application, the $80 to $95 million project would have been entirely funded.

Duvall says the hospital isn’t necessarily at square one. There’s a lot of land and the campus location can be shifted. He says the hospital has the option to reapply for the grant.

“We’ll start kind of in that second phase of the full application once we’re able to determine the tract of land we’re interested in building on,” he said.

This isn’t the first time the project has been delayed. Issues like Covid and whether or not the hospital would keep its critical access designation, which brings in millions in federal funding each year, pushed it back further.

CAH did keep the designation but Duvall says it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating,” he said.

The new campus would replace the current one in Carthage. One the community has outgrown.

“Our volumes have increased every single year for the last 10 years,” said Duvall.

Duvall says the hospital is also looking to commercial sources and grant opportunities for funding. He says this is expected to set the project back by about 6 months.