St. Mary’s dropping proposal

Much has been written over the past couple of weeks about the possibility of St. Mary’s acquiring the NBT Bank building in Gloversville. I have received letters and have read letters to the editor, as well. I’ve met with members of the Gloversville Housing and Neighborhood Improvement Corporation. I have also discussed this with other members of revitalization groups in the city of Gloversville. These discussions have been extremely important and very informative exchanges. The passion and concern of the citizens of Gloversville is admirable and compelling.

Before I provide St. Mary’s position, I’d like to ensure that we’re all on the same page as far as the facts are concerned, at least as I know them.

Here they are:

1.) As I understand it, NBT Bank has been trying to convey ownership of this building for the better part of the past year.

2.) St. Mary’s was not the first organization to be approached by NBT on this building transfer. In fact, we were at least No. 3 on the list.

3.) The building was already offered by NBT to an economic development group in Fulton County. This economic development group (for reasons I am sure were well-considered, but not privy to) turned down NBT’s offer to donate this facility.

4.) NBT Bank should be heralded by the community because one of the conditions upon which they would donate this facility had to do with reuse. NBT insisted that anyone acquiring this property would begin to put it to reuse within 60 to 90 days following acquisition. It gives you a clear sense that NBT is a concerned corporation and tremendous community partner for our region.

5.) Recently (as I have mentioned) I met with members of the downtown revitalization initiative. The members provided a very nice plan for building adaptation. It was a good meeting. And, I assured the group their plan was consistent with that of the CEO Roundtable, as well as the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce. While this plan demonstrates potential effective repurposing of the bank building, unfortunately, there is no funding in sight. Yet, I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the Revitalization Group and the consistency of their vision for our region with that of the chamber and CEO Roundtable.

St. Mary’s (as many writers have emphasized) is an outstanding community partner and healthcare provider for the entire Fulton and Montgomery region. So many of the letters welcomed St. Mary’s continued expansion of services into Fulton County, but encouraged us to look elsewhere for a site other than the NBT Bank building.

Consequently, after discussing this matter with my trustees, as well as key leaders at St. Mary’s, we’ve come to a conclusion. As a regional healthcare provider and economic engine that generates $250 million worth of economic benefit to the Fulton-Montgomery region, we clearly understand the importance of economic development. We also understand the passionate position of many revitalization advocates as stated over the past couple of weeks. We believe in the importance of downtown revitalization throughout the two counties that we serve. And we firmly believe the interests of this region are the interests of St. Mary’s Healthcare.

So, we’ve decided to relinquish any further interest in acquiring the NBT Bank building. We will continue to provide and expand needed healthcare services throughout Montgomery and Fulton counties and will do so with a sense of renewed partnership with the community as we strive to provide the exceptional experience for all patients and communities that we serve.

Victor Giulianelli is the president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare.