The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

October 4, 2013

Changing landscape

Medina Journal-Register — The Orleans County Planning Board has approved two projects that will significantly alter the landscape in both Medina and Albion.

In Medina, the field near Medina Memorial Hospital will soon feature a helicopter landing pad. In Albion, a new neighbor will soon move in next door to Tim Horton’s on Main Street: Dunkin’ Donuts.

According to Brian Napoli, chairman of the county’s planning board, both additions to the area had some details to be ironed out before gaining approval, and the board dealt with them successfully.

The helipad at MMH has also received village planning board approval. Napoli said because of the nature of the pad and its location, the FAA was involved in its creation. The helipad needed both county and village approval because of its proximity to an intermunicipal boundary, Napoli added.

There was a brief debate about the helipad, Napoli said, but the planning board quickly decided the pad was a necessity.

“Apparently, since MercyFlight lands on the grass, and one time after a hard rain the helicopter got stuck,” Napoli said, rehashing a story from a fellow board member. “They were bringing a patient out for transport, but the helicopter sank in the grass and so they had to bring the patient back in and then back out after they freed the helicopter.

“They decided then that they needed the helipad,” Napoli said.

The hospital field is owned by the hospital foundation, which acquired it from Medina Central School District when it vacated the old high school on Catherine Street. Napoli recalled using the field for physical education classes, walking from the old school to the field. In recent years, the field has seen local flag football teams play games on it during the spring and summer months.

Now, though, the field will soon feature a landing pad for MercyFlight. Napoli said it will likely be made of crushed stone and covered in blacktop so that it is structurally sound. In approving the helipad, Napoli said the biggest debate concerned access to it.

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