St. Vincent Heart Center seeks to build helipad in Carmel

August 8, 2014
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St. Vincent Heart Center is seeking city permission to build a helipad on church-owned property south of 103rd Street in Carmel, about a half-mile from the specialty hospital.

Now, helicopter ambulances transporting cardiovascular patients must land at a borrowed facility a couple miles north, on the opposite side of heavily traveled U.S. 31—adding as much as 20 minutes to the trip.

“Timely transportation and patient safety is imperative,” St. Vincent spokesman Johnny Smith told IBJ.

The heart center offered the same explanation when it made a similar request in 2008, but Carmel’s Board of Zoning Appeals decided the proposed location was too close to nearby neighborhoods.

Residents likewise objected to the plans for a helipad just south of the hospital’s 106th Street location, expressing concerns about noise and safety, among other issues. (News junkies may remember 2008 saw a spate of fatal helicopter-ambulance crashes nationally.)

St. Vincent tried in vain to assuage their concerns, offering to establish a no-fly zone over the residential area and presenting a sound study that showed helicopter take-offs and landings wouldn’t be any louder than the traffic on U.S. 31 and Interstate 465.

The newly proposed location at 10202 N. Meridian St. is decidedly less residential. The now-vacant land was once the home of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, which relocated to 106th Street in 2012 to make way for the U.S. 31/I-465 interchange improvements now under construction.

Its nearest neighbors: insurance giant Geico’s customer service center and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

It’s too soon to say if new location will make a difference with zoning officials, but the BZA is scheduled to consider the request at its Aug. 25 meeting. The Carmel Clay Plan Commission also is being asked to approve a development plan and associated details like signage and lighting.

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  • Approve
    This makes one heck of a lot more sense than approving a McDonalds in the Bridges. Its not a huge enough use of the land for the BZA though. They want huge office buildings with more traffic, or fast food restaurants.
  • McDonalds in the Bridges
    Was the McDonalds in the Bridges approved?
    • Hospital rezoning request
      You can pretty well that if any of those that don't want this request approved will be the first to complain and threaten law suits if there loved one died because of the extra 20 minutes it takes from their present location. I will bet that the residents who complain about the noise have not even considered that this a once in a life time opportunity to do the right thing that may save countless lives. This is not a commuter helo pad. It is a life saving benefit to everyone.
      • Put It On Top!
        A simpler solution would be to put the helipad on top of the building. For lotsa reasons.
        • Roof no!
          If there's space to put it somewhere other than the roof that's a wise choice. As much as the chance is rare it would be really bad to have a helicopter crash on top of a hospital.
        • To Jon
          Jon, there's almost no residential left around that area. Carmel and the highways have taken care of that. At present, those Helicopters flying around (hospitals and Mr Irsay) all fly over our neighborhood, north of 106th and Spring Mill. Who cares if they fly over the Courtyard, or 465! That would actually mean one less Helicopter flying over our neighborhood. I say approve it. Worth it if it saves one more life. City council etc cares not one iota, if one more or less helicopter flies over our neighborhood, thats well known. My guess is they would prefer to have a 6 story office building instead of a Helipad.
        • McDonalds
          Ron, Not yet, but if the developers want it, you can be sure the city council will approve it. After all, its a PUD area, and this is what this commercial PUD allows. Plus, the developers are friendly contributors to campaigns. So much for high quality businesses, and high paying jobs in the Bridges area (which of course was promised).
        • CNO Financial
          CNO Financial and Bankers Life have a helipad at Pennsylvania and College Ave that has multiple flights a week over the residential areas south of 116th and east of 31. But I forgot there's more money west of 31.

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