Veteran advocates were to have met with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday to discuss their desire to place a full- service hospital at the St. Albans VA site, rather than have part of the land privately developed, as the Veterans Administration has planned.
The meeting marks the final critical step that groups like the United Coalition for Veteran and Community Rights needed to make before taking their fight to Washington, DC, according to UCVCR leader Andrea Scarborough, wife of Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica).
The coalition plans to picket the office of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and lobby Congress to get the private development of the St. Albans site stopped. An exact date for the trip has not been set yet.
In its Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services report released in 2006, the VA cites a projected decline in the metropolitan-area’s veteran population as the main reason why a hospital is not needed at St. Albans, but advocates dispute those figures.
The UCVCR met with Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens and Long Island) on Jan. 28, and he pledged his support in helping them with their crusade.
— AnnMarie Costella