October 26, 2021

Hospital reconfiguration plans moving forward

Part of Alvena Avenue will be closed to traffic

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A car travels down Alvena Avenue in Cortland. A proposed parking lot reconfiguration plan at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center would close the eastern half of the street

Cyrus Hamilton of Alvena Avenue in Cortland has never lived on a dead-end street, but pending
approval for Guthrie Cortland Medical Center to close off a part of his street as a reconfiguration project, he may do so next year.

“As long as they make it look nice and beautiful, I guess it’s fine,” he said Frida.

The Cortland Common Council will consider approving the plans after the Cortland County Planning
Board recommended approval this week, said Trisha Jesset, the county planning director.

The project will close Alvena Avenue east of 26 Alvena Ave., the last house on the street, to Homer Avenue and reconfigure the hospital’s parking lot, adding handicapped parking right next to the hospital that is currently across Alvena Avenue, said Jennifer Yartym, the president of Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. More parking will be added and the flow of traffic in the parking lot will be changed, as well. The parking across Alvena Avenue from the hospital would be paved, she said.

“This is just another step for achieving that overall mission” of making the center a local hub for
health care, she said.

Yartym said the work would improve accessibility for patients and visitors and be part of the hospital’s larger mission of becoming a sole-source medical provider so county residents won’t need to travel outside the county.

Included is a $10.6 million cancer center next to the hospital’s parking lot, now under construction.

Yartym said the hospital administration is looking to submit detailed site plans in the fall, following city and county approvals. Those plans would have to be approved prior to construction, which she expects to begin in spring 2022.

The cost for the reconfiguration work hasn’t been fully detailed, but Yartym said it would be about $3 million, paid through the hospital’s capital reserve fund.

Hamilton said closing off the eastern half of the street may improve traffic as the only people driving on the street would be residents.

“I’m hoping it will reduce the traffic and won’t change the area too much,” he said.

He also said that he hopes some outside seating areas are built so hospital staff who smoke don’t walk near his house, a concern he’s had because he has young children.

Trae Libbey, who lives four houses down from Hamilton and on the southern side of the street, said closing off part of Alvena Avenue won’t hinder his travel options.