Planners approve paved helicopter landing pad for Medina hospital

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – When a Mercy Flight helicopter needs to transport a patient from Medina, the helicopter lands in a grass field on Ohio Street near West Center Street.

The patient has to be pushed by stretcher over the grass, which can be a difficult trip if it’s muddy or if there’s snow on the ground. Sometimes, after it has rained, the helicopter will land and get stuck in the field.

Medina Memorial Hospital wants to rectify these problems by constructing a 40-by-40-foot helipad. The site would have a curb cut and 80-foot-long driveway so ambulance crews could drive close to the helicopter and avoid unloading patients on a busy street.

“It will be a lot better situation, a much safer situation all around,” Marty Busch, Medina’s code enforcement officer, told members of the Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday.

The board backed the new landing zone. Most of the property will remain grass. The field is often used by children for youth sports. They will only see a small area of the field paved.

The Medina Fire Department also supports the new paved helipad. The current grass field, which requires patients to be unloaded from an ambulance in the street, puts firefighters and patients at risk, according to a letter from Jonathan Higgins, a Medina firefighter. Ambulance crews then have to push patients by stretcher to the current grass landing zone.

“The emergency providers have to carry patients over snow banks and wheel the stretcher through the mud with the current situation,” Higgins said. “This makes it difficult in providing good and safe patient care.”

The new helipad will cost about $10,000. Shelby Stone, Keeler Construction and Art Hill Excavation are all either donating services and materials or offering them at a discount.

The Planning Board also supported Rick Stacey’s proposal to build a detached 64-foot by 100-foot storage building in the town of Albion at 4015 Oak Orchard Rd. The building in the Light Industrial District will be next to RS Automation.