DENMARK TOWNSHIP — The Northeast Ohio Regional Airport is working to base a 24-hour helicopter transport team in the county.

Dwight Bowden, president of the Airport Authority Board of Trustees, said there is already a helipad at the airport which ACMC uses as an alternate landing zone.

The county would be well-served by a medical evacuation base because there is not a Level One, Two or Three trauma center here, Bowden said. Should a person require a transport by helicopter out-of-county, a base at the airport would be a life-saver especially in scenarios where minutes count, Bowden said. 

“We are totally committed to finding a service provider that will be based here at the airport 24/7, 365 [days a year],” Bowden said.

In order to base a team at the airport there is a need for broadband internet, something Bowden said a recent award through the Appalachian Regional Commission will help address. Backup power is also necessary as is living quarters, Bowden said.

Nicole Bryan, a consultant who works for Michael Baker International, said the old airport terminal crossed over public right-of-way on Airport Road by about one foot.

A party interested in using the airport as a site to base a medical evacuation team looked at four locations on the property and selected an old hangar as their preferred site to set up, Bryan said.

When a survey was conducted it was learned that the old terminal encroached upon the right-of-way, she said. The engineering and surveys for this potential project, which cost around $35,000, were all funded through a private donation from Dwight and Sue Bowden.

The Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners this week approved a resolution vacating a portion of Airport Road, which represents a first-step in making the project a reality. With that vacation of a portion of the road, the airport will now be able to construct living quarters should that project one day become a reality.

There is not a definite timeline as to when the project could move forward.

However, on Dec. 17 University Hospitals will sponsor a medical evacuation, first responder training course at the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport, Bowden said. First responders from all of Ashtabula County as well as eastern Lake County are expected to attend, Bowden said.

“It’s a three-hour course and participants will get accreditation for attending,” Bowden said. “Weather permitting they will bring a helicopter here.”

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