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  • Tuesday, April 03, 2018

    Sen. Schumer Pushes for Canandaigua VA Funding

    Commander Nessler: Need to maintain veteran health care in future

    CANANDAIGUA — Department Commander Rena Nessler joined veterans and VA officials at press conference March 30 where U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced he was launching “a campaign to secure $190 million in much-needed funding for the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Campus modernization project.”

    Specifically, Senator Schumer is pushing for funding in the upcoming Federal fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill for the second and final phase of the overall $351 million plan. The project is split between a $161 million Phase I that is set to break ground this month, and a $190 million Phase II.

    After his comments, the senator welcomed Commander Nessler to the podium who said it was important to continue to provide health care for veterans tomorrow in the communities where they reside.

    In his remarks, the senator noted: “Following the significant new funding resources we secured for the VA in the recently passed bi-partisan omnibus budget bill, we cannot turn our backs on this multimillion-dollar project that will give Rochester-area veterans the facilities they need and deserve. That is why I am fighting day in and day out to ensure that this project is fully funded – at $190 million Phase II – and completed quickly. Fifteen years ago based on claims it was outdated, the Canandaigua VA was targeted for closure. But we stopped that in its tracks and instead launched this plan to modernize the campus to provide state-of-the-art care and guard against any future attempts to close it. Leaving this project half-done will be a slap in the face to those who served and protected us and no veteran here should be left looking over their shoulder worried it could once again be targeted for closure. These brave men and women fought to protect our freedom and it is our duty to provide them with access to high-quality health care services when they return home.”

    The Phase II funding will go toward the upgrades and modernization of the Canandaigua VA campus, including the construction of a 120-bed Community Living Center Complex that replaces its now outdated long-term living spaces, the renovation of its now dilapidated 50-bed Domiciliary facility where veterans live for 3-6 months before re-entering the community after receiving assistance for homelessness, substance abuse, or mental or behavior health therapy, and the renovation of building 3 to improve rehab and physical therapy offerings, as well as other upgrades. This final push, Senator Schumer said, is the culmination of a multi-year effort to save the Canandaigua VA from plans by the VA in 2003 to close the facility and to instead invest in the Canandaigua VA campus so that a new state-of-the-art facility can serve Rochester/Finger Lakes veterans for decades to come. Schumer vowed to keep fighting for funding so that Rochester area veterans receive the care they need and deserve.

    Schumer explained the $161 million Phase I of the major Canandaigua VA Campus Modernization redevelopment is now underway, with the formal groundbreaking for Phase I to occur on April 10 and set to be completed by the end of 2021. Senator Schumer announced in January that local Rochester contractor Pike Construction, through a joint development with another contractor PJ Dick, was awarded a $143,698,000 Phase I construction contract.