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Duluth Residents Express Concern Over Proposed New St. Luke's Heliport

Ryan Juntti
Updated: February 06, 2019 10:37 PM

DULUTH - The parking lot east of St. Luke's Hospital could soon become the spot for a new heliport.

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The city of Duluth Planning Commission previously approved a plan paving the way for that to happen, but not everyone is on board.

Area residents are expressing concerns about having a heliport next to where they live. They say they are worried about the amount of noise it will generate. 

Officials say they have spent a year and a half looking at all sorts of possibilities, and say this is the best one to be able to improve emergency response.

The heliport would be built on top of a parking ramp that would be expanded upon by one level in the lot east of St. Luke's.

The current heliport is located on a parking ramp on top of First Street.

The St. Luke's Emergency Department has also been relocated into Building A. 

Officials say having the heliport close to the Emergency Department would save them at least five minutes of time when assisting patients.

"This improves our patient care immeasurably, and as the medical director for Life Link, I look at this and I think that this is the absolute best thing for any of my family members who get sick," said Dr. Chris Delp, St. Luke's Emergency Room Physician.

Officials acknowledge that while the heliport would be closer to many houses, they say the proposed location on Second Street would be at the same altitude as the one on First Street.

Yet some residents are still not satisfied.

"I'm concerned because sound travels out and up, and because the new heliport is going to be literally at probably bedroom window level for the houses across the street," said Penelope Gooch, who lives close to where the proposed heliport would be located.

Gooch also says the residents in the area were not notified about the plan to build the heliport before officials started moving forward with it.

But officials from St. Luke's say they sent a letter to property owners about the proposal, and used the same mailing list as the city of Duluth did.

In order for the ramp and heliport to be built, the city council needs to approve it.

If that happens, the planned start date is April.

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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