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      Helicopter forum draws curious residents

      There's a new landing location for Marquette General's air ambulance service. Wednesday night hospital CEO Ed Banos presented their plans in a public forum.

      Several residents and community members attended this forum. Most wanted to know how safe it will be to have a chopper land by the hospital, and what has to be done to keep it secure.

      A portion of MGH'S Neldberg parking lot closest to the corner of Hebard court and College avenue is now the proposed landing spot for their air ambulance.

      Word of the new spot drew curious residents to Wednesday night's public forum.

      "We were concerned about the initial site, given that it was amongst a number of residences and so forth. This is a little more open it gives the opportunity for the helicopter to come in without really disturbing a lot of neighbors," said Bob Hewitt, resident.

      The main concern safety.

      According to CEO Ed Banos the landing area will be secured with a chain-link fence that will be 75 feet by 75 feet in area.

      Banos says some trees will be removed, some light poles will be taken out others lowered, and lighting will be added to light up the choppers flight path.

      He says it safe and won't interfere with any vehicular, or pedestrian traffic.

      "To me it looks very good. It looks like something that's very workable from the university's perspective, and I don't believe that this will be disruptive to us at all," said Fritz Erickson, NMU president.

      While there will be some noise, Banos says it's minimal and limited to a short amount of time.

      He says once the chopper lands a security guard, and ambulance will be waiting to transport the patient to the Emergency center.

      "That should take probably less than 40 seconds. So, that's not a significant amount of time by doing that, but we know it will be secure and the helicopter can land there right away. We know that's going to be a great way of getting our patients in for care," said Ed Banos, MGH CEO.

      They started the service back in June, landing temporarily at the Barry Events Center since then they've had eight patients.

      They're working to get the plans approved by the planning commission and are hoping to start landing by the hospital in the fall.