Making a stop in Canandaigua on a rainy Wednesday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand revealed they have secured over $250 million for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region through the bipartisan omnibus-spending package for Fiscal Year 2023, including the final $62.5 million needed to complete the modernization of Canandaigua VA Campus. Schumer said the inclusion of that money brings full circle a 20 yearlong effort by him to reverse what would be the closure of the facility, and instead modernize and expand the campus, culminating in a total of $506 million so veterans in the region can receive the care they need for decades to come.
“This is BIG news for Rochester and the Finger Lakes. The over $250 million we have secured for community-driven project across the Rochester-Finger Lakes region means good paying jobs, new economic opportunity, and making long overdue upgrades to our infrastructure,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding also brings us full circle to a battle I picked up nearly two decades to save the Canandaigua VA, they wanted to rip local care away from thousands of Finger Lakes veterans and I promised to deliver the funding they needed to not only keep this campus open but give it the modern amenities our vets deserved. Now a promise made is a promise kept, to the tune of over $500 million over the past 20 years to transform this 150-acre campus into the state-of-the-art modern health facility the Finger Lakes veterans community has long deserved.”
“This funding will be transformative for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region. The $62.5 million I helped secure with Senator Schumer will help complete the modernization of the VA facility in Canandaigua, helping provide the best standard of care for those who served our nation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This federal investment will also help rehabilitate our aging infrastructure, give workers the tools and training they need to secure in-demand jobs and provide high-quality health care services close to home. I will always keep fighting to bring federal dollars home to Rochester and the Finger Lakes.”
Specifically, the $62.5 million the senators just delivered will complete the overall planned $506 million major modernization and upgrade of the Canandaigua VA Medical Campus and fund the final upgrades, including the completion of the new State-of-the-art Outpatient Clinic complex and remaining renovations to Buildings 1,3,4,5, and 9. The $506 million upgrade project includes the construction of a new 84,200 sq. ft. three-story modern Outpatient Clinic, the construction of 10 new Housing Cottages that provide 120 quality housing units for older veterans to replace its outdated long-term living spaces, a new Community Living Center, renovation of the dilapidated Domiciliary facility where veterans recovered before re-entering the community after receiving assistance for homelessness, substance abuse, or mental or behavior health therapy, as well as asbestos removal, upgrades to utilities, access roads, parking and construction of additional state-of-the-art updates for rehab, physical therapy, mental health outpatient care, and adult day health care offerings.
Jim Wideman, Chairman of the Finger Lakes Veterans Advocacy Council said, “The Finger Lakes Veterans Advocacy Council has long supported the modernization and expansion of the Canandaigua VA Medical Campus. Senator Schumer has been a staunch advocate for the campus for decades, and we appreciate Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to secure the final amount needed to complete the project and ensure our veterans are receiving the highest quality of care for years to come.”
Funding for over $27 million in community-led projects across Rochester and the Finger Lakes was included in the spending package. The Finger Lakes projects include:
$1,000,000 for the YMCA of Greater Rochester to construct the new Canandaigua YMCA:
To help fund the construction of the new Sands Family YMCA in Canandaigua that will provide childcare, aging adult services, family services, health care, and more.
$20,000,000 to fund the US Army Corps of Engineers’ completion of the Great Sodus Bay Harbor Breakwall to protect the bay, homes, and businesses from damaging waters, waves, and erosion.
$2,400,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Resiliency Study to develop a blueprint to safeguard Lake Ontario towns, communities, and homeowners:
The study would coordinate a long-term strategy across the Great Lakes States to more efficiently and effectively manage the Great Lakes coastline. Flooding in recent years has caused millions of dollars in damage to residences, businesses, and the shoreline, making this study more vital than ever to ensure resilience for communities along Lake Ontario.