Utica's new, downtown hospital's helistop (helipad with no refueling or support facilities) will be on the grass, outside the ER. A Utica City Councilman says the roof makes the most sense.
"I think the discussion needs to be had that the helipad, I think, belongs on top of the hospital and I think everyone agrees, but I believe right now it's a cost-saving measure as to why they want to put it on the ground," says 4th District Councilman Joe Marino.
MVHS officials don't dispute the cost factor.
"As part of the design process, placing the helistop on the roof was considered. It was determined that this placement would be inferior to the ground placement and would be significantly more costly," said MVHS COO, Robert Scholefield.
Marino say he has confidence that MVHS would adequately handle safety and security of a ground-level helistop; his concern is more the land grab.
"To take that much land for a helipad...I understand there could easily be safety concerns about landing a helicopter in the middle of a city. I don't know that that's ncecessarily a problem I think the problem more is utilizing that much land for surface parking and a helipad, those are the discussions I fear get lost in the shuffle of the location fight," said Marino.
Scholefield says rooftop placement wouldn't have made a difference.
"The space the helistop requires on the ground is minimal and it is unlikely that a relocation of the helistop to the roof would cause a significant change in the layour of the campus and the land needed."
Scholefield also points out that the helistop will be reviewed as part of the New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQURA) process currently underway, and which should be complete sometime this fall.
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