DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Board of Directors for Lake Shore Health Care Center met Tuesday night to discuss the facility's fate. Hundreds of jobs hang in the balance and now a developer has stepped forward with an offer to buy the hospital.
Before the meeting, firefighters and EMTs lined the street outside the hospital to show their support for keeping it open. First responders say they support the 460 people who work at the facility and believe it is needed in Irving.
Shannon Ernhof said, "My husband's an employee here. That would mean problems for our family financially if he's out of a job."
"Lake Shore's been taking care of our people for a long time," said Lake Erie Beach firefighter Guy Canonico. "We have to have the right assets in the right locations, and we need to save lives."
Workers say the announcement on October 16 that the hospital would be closing in just a few months came as a total surprise, especially considering the hospital has been buying new equipment and just finished renovating its emergency department.
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors was set to meet Tuesday night. At the last minute, it appears they changed the location of the meeting from the administrative building at the hospital to a building belonging to SUNY Fredonia in Dunkirk. New crews were not welcome inside.
Board Chairman Christopher Lanski said, "We are going to continue to evaluate all offers, do our due diligence, and we'll keep you updated as things change."
No one would say much about what kept the board talking for four hours.
Lake Shore Hospital CEO Gary Rhodes said, "We discussed the offers that we've received so far."
But there has only been one offer: developer Tony Borrello has made a $50,000 good-faith deposit to the board for them to consider allowing him to purchase the hospital for $15 million.
"If they want to leave it as a community hospital so that we can run it, it'll cost the board nothing, it'll cost the community nothing. We're putting up all the money and we're going to give them a hospital in return," Borrello said.
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