Roseboro helipad issue revisited

Roseboro commissioners look over information presented to them during a recent meeting concerning the helipad in Roseboro.

Former Roseboro fire chief Bobby Owens looks over the projected site for the helipad in this file photo from earlier in the year.

ROSEBORO — The need for a helipad in Roseboro hasn’t lessened, in fact, many feel it’s of a greater necessity now that more traffic is proposed to come through the area thanks to the four-laning of N.C. 24.

According to Roseboro Fire Chief Lee Coleman, nearly three years ago the town received a proposal to complete the helipad from Barnhill Construction Company for just over $30,000. Since that time, events have been held to raise funds for the project, but nothing has been done in the way of completing the work.

In October 2013, a motorcycle ride was held to raise funds for the helipad project. According to information in a previous story in The Sampson Independent, that event raised a total of $6,200, with another donation given by Larry McPhail of Ford of Clinton. Coleman advised the board that there is currently $6,900 in an account to be used towards the helipad. This figure is based on information and records Coleman said the town has.

“We need to be careful with that money and make sure it’s right,” commissioner Richard Barefoot stated. “This is citizens’ money that’s invested in that.”

Coleman, who pointed out that more events to raise funds would be a necessity for the work to be completed, said the project would take a lot of time and work, but was worth pursuing. The helipad would be located on the town’s property behind the dialysis center. According to Coleman, there are very strict criteria that must be met based on FAA standards.

In the event of an accident or medical emergency that requires a helicopter to land nearby, the Roseboro Fire Department must set up a landing zone in preparation for that landing. However, Coleman added, if the helipad was constructed following the guidelines set forth by the FAA, the site would be ready for the helicopter’s landing, saving both time and effectiveness.

“The proposed location is the perfect place,” he stressed. “It’s a great location. Right now, the fire department is responsible for setting up a landing zone to prepare for a helicopter’s landing. The helipad would be an advantage to have.”

Roseboro commissioner Ray Clark Fisher, who serves as the fire commissioner, suggested Coleman pursue making a final decision as a fire department if the town needs the helipad and, if so, to continue with the efforts to find all the funding needed.

“You need to decide if we want to do this or not,” Fisher said. “If so, we need to go on and do it.”

With the quote from Barnhill now three years old, Fisher said Coleman said they needed to talk with Barnhill about a new quote so the town would have an idea of how much the project would cost and how much is needed in addition to what is in the account.

In an effort to continue with finding funding to complete the project, Coleman advised he will talk with Barnhill about obtaining another quote for the project to be complete and will talk with the staff and volunteers at the fire department about events that can raise funds to be used towards construction.