ROSEBORO — Construction of the helipad has been completed and board members are still working to provide adequate security measures on the property.
During Tuesday night’s board meeting, town attorney Sandy Sanderson presented an ordinance to the board for adoption that cites any trespassers with a criminal violation and comes with a $500 fine.
“The helipad is first class,” newly elected mayor Alice Butler attested. “Roseboro should be very proud.”
Those who are caught trespassing, Sanderson pointed out, will be guilty of a misdemeanor charge, punishable with the steep fine. The case will go through the court system, alleviating the town’s responsibility of collecting the money.
“We want a zero tolerance ordinance,” Commissioner Anthony Bennett said.
However, the ordinance only addressed the area of the helipad that is designated with a fence as being the subject of the trespass violation. Plans include a steel fence around the helipad landing zone with additional white fencing around the entire property. One side of the land is blocked with a ditch, leaving the area open to question.
“We want to make sure this thing is done right,” Commissioner Cary Holland interjected. “I’ve been working on this a long time and I just want to get the project finished.”
Concern for interpretation was then addressed by board members, as well as sheriff’s officials. Since the ordinance left commissioners with questions, the motion was made to table the item until the attorney could work on the wording and bring changes back before the board.
“We want to make sure everything is covered,” Commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said.
During the November meeting, the board allocated an additional $6,500 to cover the cost of the security measure for the helipad project. This was in addition to the $33,493 spent on the actual project.
“There is no such thing as overkill when talking about safety,” Holland stated during the November meeting. “The fencing will serve as a protective barrier around the helipad and protect the town’s property.”
The concern about trespassing was brought up by commissioners last month, saying they knew the fencing wouldn’t keep all trespassers off the property, but would be a good measure. That discussion prompted the proposal of the ordinance and fine.
When the board voted in the summer to proceed with the helipad project, commissioners expressed their desires to enforce a “no tolerance policy” when enforcing the ordinance related to trespassing on the property. Offenders will be criminally cited a fine if caught on the premises unauthorized. No trespassing signs will be posted on the fencing area around the helipad.
Funds to cover the cost of the helipad were raised through fundraisers and given as donations, and have assisted in the payment of the total costs — projected to be $33,493. Of the total cost, $14,940 actually came from the contributed monies, while the town will pulled the remaining $18,553 from town funds.
According to Lee Coleman, fire chief for the Roseboro Fire Department, having the helipad located in Roseboro will be a huge asset to the emergency personnel working in and around Sampson County. With the projected traffic on the new four-lane N.C. 24 expected to increase, Coleman said the helipad is a greater necessity now.
“This gives us one more option that will cut down on the time it takes to get someone to the proper facility to help with their emergency needs,” Coleman said during an earlier interview with the Sampson Independent.“The helipad certainly helps the citizens of Roseboro, and Sampson County, by being a space to land a helicopter.”
In the event of an accident or medical emergency that requires a helicopter to land nearby, as it currently stands, the Roseboro Fire Department must set up a landing zone in preparation for that landing. However, with the completion of the helipad, Coleman added, the site would be ready for the helicopter’s landing, saving both time and effectiveness.
The helipad will be located on the town’s property behind the dialysis center. The exact address will be 210 S. East Street, Roseboro.
Once operational, the helipad will be accessible from South East Street via an asphalt driveway that measures 175 feet. A loading area made of asphalt that measures 40 feet by 40 feet will be situated next to the helipad for the use of Emergency Management Service officials. The helipad itself will be made of cement and measure 100 feet by 50 feet, allowing for enough space for the adequate landing of helicopters.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.