The future home of EmergyCare’s LifeStar medical helicopter is slowly coming to life at Corry-Lawrence Airport.

“It’s all progressing,” EmergyCare Executive Director Bill Hagerty said. “We’re getting ready to break ground at the airport. It’s nice to see.”

EmergyCare and the city of Corry are on the verge of signing a renewable five-year lease that could keep the medical helicopter based at the city-owned airport at 800 Spring St. for years to come, Hagerty said.

The city and EmergyCare have been working together since September to move LifeStar’s base to Corry from its present location in Harborcreek Township. Moving the base further south, away from Lake Erie, will be more efficient for LifeStar, which provides helicopter transportation for patients within a 150-nautical-mile radius of Erie.

“It’s really been kind of silly to be near the lake,” Hagerty said. “We never rescue anyone on the lake.”

Although Hagerty can’t predict when the base will officially open in Corry, the wheels are in motion. The Federal Aviation Agency recently approved design plans and the city is working to secure a building permit for the airport. Preparing the helicopter base site already has begun.

EmergyCare hired Munsee Excavating of Corry, which now is readying the site for the installation of utilities — sewer, telephone, cable, water and electric.

The 1,813-square-foot doublewide manufactured home that will serve as LifeStar headquarters has been purchased and assembled. The structure is expected to be delivered to Corry from Youngsville on two tractor-trailers once the site is ready.

The structure eventually will provide office space and sleeping quarters for a helicopter pilot, paramedic and critical-care-certified nurse that will be on call 24 hours a day in Corry. A mechanic also will be on site five days a week, or when needed.

A storage shed for supplies also will be erected at the airport.

A 40-by-40-foot concrete helipad, a parking area for eight vehicles, and driveways will be constructed, too. But that could take some time because of winter weather, Hagerty said.

“Pouring concrete in this kind of weather is tricky,” he said, noting the concrete needs warmer temperatures to cure properly. “If we get a week of 40-degree weather, we might be able to do it.”

The deal with the city calls for EmergyCare to pay for the buildings and all construction costs. The city, in return, will maintain the property and take care of chores like snowplowing and mowing.

See the Journal's Thursday, January 28th edition for full story.

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