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Helipad project would be good use of county's money

Johnson City Press • May 22, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Unicoi County officials are correct in wanting to spend a $750,000 windfall from the sale of the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital as wisely as possible. To that extent, we can’t think of a more sensible way to use those dollars than to help fund a proposed helicopter landing pad at the Limestone Cove Volunteer Fire Department.As Press Erwin Bureau Chief Brad Hicks reported in Wednesday’s paper, Unicoi County commissioners have decided to put the helipad project on hold while they examine the project’s primary funding source. Commissioners say they aren’t certain that using a small portion of the money the county received from Mountain States Health Alliance following the purchase of UCMH to build a helicopter landing pad in Limestone Cove is the best use of those funds. Commissioner Kenneth Garland had proposed the county take $6,325 from the MSHA money to build a 20-foot-by-20-foot helipad, surrounded by eight lights, near the volunteer fire department.We can’t think of a better use of the funds generated by the sale of the hospital. The helipad would provide for better emergency air ambulance and rescue services to the Limestone Cove area.The windfall from the county’s hospital project should go for things that promote and protect the health, safety and well being of Unicoi County residents. The helipad project fits into that criteria perfectly.

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