Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Medina 29°


Medina airport might land medical helicopter


MEDINA — City Council is looking to spend about $48,000 on upgrades to Medina Municipal Airport to allow a medical helicopter to be stationed there.

The airport, located in Sharon Township, is owned by the city of Medina and leased to Earl Olson of Olson’s Products, which is in negotiations with University Hospitals to create a hub for the helicopter.

Olson’s Products would lease the airport hangar to UH, Mayor Dennis Hanwell said, and the city would install an above-ground jet fuel tank that would become a revenue source for Medina.

“We’re hoping this encourages more and more use of the airport, which would be an economic advantage for the city and the region,” Hanwell said.

Olson could not be reached for comment Friday.

Law Director Greg Huber, the city’s airport manager, said the jet fuel tank would be available for any aircraft in the area to refuel, providing convenience for aircrafts that usually have to go to Wadsworth or Cleveland for fuel.

Hanwell said the UH helicopter would not replace the Cleveland Clinic helicopter that used to be stationed at Medina Hospital before area residents complained about noise.

That chopper was moved to the clinic’s Twinsburg facility last year. It still transports patients to and from Medina Hospital, but is no longer stationed full time in the county.

Huber said UH’s helicopter is for medical transport and is stationed at Akron Fulton Airport.

Hanwell said the Medina airport would require several upgrades before the helicopter could be stationed there.

In addition to the installation of the fuel tank, the city would be responsible for running water and sewer lines to a modular unit for housing the helicopter crew. Olson Products would be responsible for upgrades to the airport hangar as well as the installation of the crew housing unit.

Whatever costs the city encumbers, Hanwell said, would be reimbursed through fuel sales.

“It’s like a loan to ourselves,” he said.

Huber said from a medical standpoint, the helicopter likely would be used for UH purposes.

“I think there’s always an obvious benefit in having some local emergency helicopter availability,” Huber added.

He said the helicopter could be at the Medina airport within three months.

The upgrades would require approval from City Council, which will discuss the issue during its Finance Committee meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 132 N. Elmwood Ave.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.

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