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Orleans County must not sell nursing home

The Orleans County Legislature is moving to sell the county nursing home. The newspaper headline read, “Development plan shared with county; Six sites recognized as attractive to outside businesses.” Economic development has been the steadfast centerpiece of Dave Callard’s tenure as chairman. Most residents likely applaud it.

We, the Concerned Citizens of Orleans County, oppose the sale. There is more to making the county attractive to outside development. As two Medina residents recently pointed out to me, people – whether retirees or business owners – are attracted by the things we choose to have as much as they are by the things we happen to have.

We happen to have an abundance of water and the potential of low-cost power. Rochester and Buffalo are nearby. A largely non-union workforce exists. By choice, Orleans County has moved to prep what its experts think are suitable sites.

But there is more to attracting investment. One friend flatly said, “Don’t they realize that the nursing home is important to economic development?” The other told me about a couple who had moved to Medina because the village seemed to have it all, including a charming downtown, a hospital, a Sandstone Society and a Renaissance Group, among other things.

For thoughtful business people, good schools, a hospice house, public libraries and a high-quality, community-supported, long-term care facility close to where they live might be important as well. These things, too, are at the core of what gives an otherwise soulless “place” a sense of community and heart. A willingness to support a high-quality county nursing home says the community they are considering relocating in has substance.

Gary Kent

Former Orleans County legislator

Albion