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When The Canandaigua VA Was Targeted For Closure In 2003, Schumer Successfully Led The Charge To Block Closure Plans And Instead Secured Over $161 Million For Phase I, $190 Million For Phase II To Upgrade Campus, Safeguard it From Future Closure Threats 

After Securing $30M In The FY2020 Omnibus Package, Senators Say Funding Will Be Used To Renovate 3 for Rehab, Mental Health Programs After Project Was Placed On Hold Due To Insufficient Funds 

Senators: Rochester-Area Veterans Will Finally Get The State-Of-The-Art Facility They Deserve

After delivering over $351 million to upgrade the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Campus since 2018, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced an additional $30 million in federal funding to complete renovations on building 3 allocated in the recently-passed 2020 end-of-year omnibus legislation. The senators explained that while the renovations were originally supposed to be funded under the second tranche of funding allocated in the FY2019 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill, due to changes in budgets and based on bids received, the renovations to building 3 were put on hold. Therefore, due to the additional funding, Schumer and Gillibrand said that Rochester Finger Lakes-area veterans will finally have access to the state-of-the-art facility that they deserve.

“Eighteen years ago, based on incorrect claims it was outdated, the Canandaigua VA was targeted for closure. But together with our Rochester Finger Lakes-area veterans, 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,” said Senator Schumer. “Today’s funding will get us over the finish line and with the renovations to building 3 to boost rehab and mental health outpatient care, instead of our veterans looking over their shoulders worried that the Canandaigua VA would once again be a target for closure, they can now have the peace of mind that the state-of-the-art upgrades promised to this 150-acre, the 85-year-old campus will be completed.

Schumer added, “The upgrades will enable the Canandaigua VA to provide cutting-edge care to meet the needs of our veterans in the 21st century, all on a modernized campus with facilities that are cost-effective to operate for decades to come. Our veterans, who have fought valiantly to protect and serve their country, deserve the peace of mind of knowing that upon returning home, they will have access to top-notch health care and medical services like those now made possible through this $381 million modernization.”

“Congress has a responsibility to ensure high-quality medical care and services for the men and women who have served our nation in uniform. This funding is great news for veterans in the Rochester and Fingers Lakes region and will allow the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center to continue much-needed facility upgrades and expansions to provide the highest standard of care,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am proud these renovations were prioritized in this year’s government spending bill so our local veterans will have access to a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come.”

Phase III funding will go towards renovating building 3 on the Canandaigua VA campus, which houses rehab, physical therapy, mental health outpatient care, and adult day health care offerings.

The Phase II funding went towards upgrading and modernizing the Canandaigua VA campus, including the construction of a 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, as well as other upgrades. Schumer’s efforts culminated 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.

The VA originally announced in 2007 that it would initiate a major reconstruction project to modernize the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in order to provide state-of-the-art care and meet the needs of current and future veterans. This announcement came after Schumer, local veterans, and the community, in 2003-2004, convinced the VA's Capital Asset Realignment for Enhancement Services (CARES) Commission to reverse its recommendation to close the Canandaigua Medical Center. To begin the redevelopment project, Schumer secured $36.58 million in FY 2010 to complete a new campus master plan.  In 2013, Schumer wrote to then VA Secretary Shinseki to include funding for the site in their budget request. In 2014, Schumer announced the VA agreed to this request and would seek the necessary $122.4 million, which Schumer then helped secure as part of the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill.  Altogether the $161M Phase I scope of work included building a new 84,200 sq. ft. three-story modern Outpatient Clinic in undeveloped space between buildings 1 and 2, as well as design, construction, asbestos removal, and upgrades to utilities, access roads, parking and construction of additional state-of-the-art updates. Schumer explained the $161 million Phase I of the major Canandaigua VA Campus Modernization redevelopment is now underway and set to be completed by early 2022.

Schumer and Gillibrand said the construction and completion of the project, will not only bring area veterans the upgraded facilities and care they require near their homes, but will also provide a significant local investment to positively impact the regional economy.