December 5, 2021

Hospital outlines redesign of Alvena Ave.

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

As sketches of the proposed redesigned parking lots for Guthrie Cortland Medical Center rested Monday on two easels nearby under a large white tent, officials explained the project and answered questions from about 20 neighbors.

The gathering in a grassy area across West Main Street from the hospital broke up after about a half-hour. Two neighbors then said they were satisfied with the proposed project, which will close about 600 feet of Alvena Avenue west of Homer Avenue as part of the project to serve a cancer treatment center under construction and redesign the parking lots around Alvena Avenue.

Access to the neighborhood will still be available via Copeland Avenue and Loope Street.

“I’m excited,” said Chuck Freeman, a West Main Street resident. “This hospital has been good to our family. We need a viable hospital in this community.”

“This project is good,” said Troy Rodman of Alvena Avenue.

Rodman said plans have been changing and he is keeping apprised of them as they develop, giving input
on concerns about trucks that have driven across his water line during construction of the cancer treatment facility.

Mayor Brian Tobin said during the presentation that the Common Council will accept public comments on the closure of Alvena Avenue at the beginning of its next meeting at 7 p.m. July 20. A vote on the plan will occur at a future meeting.

The project will also need approvals from the city Planning Commission and city Zoning Board of Appeals.

To comment

WHAT: Public comment on closing Alvena Avenue
WHEN: 7 p.m. July 20
WHERE: Cortland Common Council Meeting, Court Street, Cortland

Guthrie Cortland President Jen Yartym said the cancer treatment center and parking lot improvements will cost a total of $13 million. The center will open in late September or early October, Yartym said The parking lot project is expected to begin in the spring of 2022 and be completed by the end of that construction season.

The hospital wants to close off the 685-foot-long east end of Alvena Avenue, which bisects hospital-owned land. It would also alter the driveway patterns on the hospital property.

The hospital over the years has torn down several houses on the north side of Alvena Avenue to create an unpaved parking lot. The medical center plans to absorb the east end of Alvena Avenue that runs between that parking lot and the main hospital property into a reconfigured parking lot. The current entrance to Alvena will become an entrance to the parking lot.

A state-mandated environmental review must also be conducted.

The project also includes parking for the 10,825-square-foot cancer treatment facility under construction on the west side of the hospital property where several other houses have been removed on Loope and West Main streets. The entire affected site encompasses 6.7 acres.

The parking lot would have 269 spaces, including 14 accessible to people with disabilities.

A 10-foot-wide landscaped area with trees and shrubs is planned along the west and north property lines adjacent to residential properties. More parking will be added and the flow of traffic in the parking lot will be changed, too.

There will be no traffic access to the parking lots from Alvena Avenue, Guthrie officials said.

Monday was the third meeting that hospital officials have held with neighbors to discuss the project and receive opinions and reactions.