ROSEBORO — An endeavor that has been years in the making has finally come to fruition with the completion of the helipad project.
The original proposal for the project came in 2012 and efforts to finalize plans drifted, moving away from the project for the next three years. After becoming fire chief in 2015, Lee Coleman, with the help of town commissioner Cary Holland, pursued completion of the project and an official fly-in and dedication are scheduled to be held later this month.
“The helipad is complete and open for use,” Roseboro mayor Alice Butler said. “However, we hope to have an official fly in and dedication this month. Several times we have already been called requesting its use, but the flight was canceled.”
According to Coleman, 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. “The helipad certainly helps the citizens of Roseboro, and Sampson County, by being a space to land a helicopter.”
The main purpose of the helipad is to better serve residents of Roseboro and Sampson County in emergency situations.
“I know it will help save many lives in the future by transporting victims directly to a trauma center,” Butler said. “The helipad can be used to transport seriously sick or injured patients and it can also be used for a landing zone for supplies in a state of emergency.”
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.
Additionally, commissioners approved the purchase of a remote lighting system, giving helicopters access to turn on the helipad’s lights when use is necessary. Coleman said his department will still respond for safety reasons.
The helipad is located on the town’s property behind the dialysis center. The exact address is 210 S. East Street, Roseboro.
The helipad was the brain child of the fire department,” Butler added. “They respond to every fire and motor vehicle accident in the area, as well as many medical emergencies and they saw a need to be able to get seriously injured victims to a trauma center like UNC-CH or Duke as quickly as possible”
According to Butler, with the town’s support, the fire department began fundraising for the helipad, bringing in enough donations to fully fund the nearly $40,000 project.
“This past year, the town decided it was time to start building the helipad,” Butler said. “Commissioner Cary Holland oversaw the project and worked many countless hours on the project to see it come to fruition. With generous donations from many citizens and organizations, funds from the town and fund raising from the fire department, we have a helipad that we are very proud of.”
With safety on their minds, the commissioners adopted a “no trespassing” ordinance that applies to the helipad property. Those who are caught violating the ordinance will be cited with a criminal citation.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.