NEWTON GROVE — During a critical situation, helicopter pilots can land in order to save a life. But local business professionals would like to have an official place for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Mayor Gerald Darden presented a brief proposal for a helipad to members of the Board of Commissioners during a Monday meeting. The nearest helipad location is at Spivey’s Corner.
“They wanted me to get the blessing of the board,” Darden said while speaking on behalf of the group for the EMS project.
There was a consensus among the commissioners for the need. The location of the landing spot is unknown at the moment. It would not require a financial commitment from the town or use of town funds.
Darden reported that the helipad can be built with assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Another alternative is to build the helipad without input from the organization.
“If you build one without the FAA, my understanding is that they will not fly to it in inclement weather,” Darden said.
Although an official cost was not reported, it was noted that there’s an $8,000 difference between the two options.
Officials in Roseboro built a helipad and had its official opening in June of 2016. The opening was celebrated with officials from UNC Health Care and other town leaders. Bobby Owen, a former fire chief, was called the brainchild for the project.
“There’s a lot of paperwork involved when you deal with the FAA,” Darden said about speaking with Roseboro officials on the matter.
Now that commissioners are in agreement to have a landing area in Newton Grove, a committee will be formed for aspects such as selecting a landing site and other details.
Newton Grove commissioners are continuing to make improvements for Weeksdale Street — an area damaged by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made a request for the town to have a Hydrological & Hydraulic Study (H&H Study) for the street. The purpose was to examine if the area could handle requests from the town. During a previous meeting, town officials made a request to add another tile next to the existing one, for a sturdier infrastructure.
Mayor Gerald Darden presented results during a Tuesday meeting. Some of the ideas involved installing more tiles. But to the town will have to pay if they wanted to add more road tiles.
“…they’re going to pay for getting it back the way it was before the storm,” Darden said.
The town is expected to receive about $13,000. Money will be provided for compensation of the H&H study. But it was also noted that confusion came about regarding the process and recommendations from the study.
“My understanding was, if you recommend it, you pay for it,” Darden said referring to officials.
Newton Grove’s Weeksdale Street is accessible, but town officials would like to add another tile. The culverts are used to become a tunnel for water under or next to the road. Other discussed areas included West Grove and Church streets
Previously, town officials made a recommendation to install two 36 inch tiles for Weeksdale. Commissioner Cody Smith made a recommendation to contact officials about the difference between putting two tiles or a larger size.
“If you don’t upsize it some, the same thing is going to happen again,” Smith said about flooding.
During the meeting, commissioners were in agreement to have to the road fully repaired.
“We need to get it fixed because I’m getting an ear full,” Smith said.
Officials will continue the process by discussing prices at the next meeting.