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Hospital copter test set Monday

When a helicopter hovers over Buffalo General Hospital on Monday, Kaleida Health officials hope the test flight will convince neighborhood residents that a proposed helipad won't be a noise nuisance.

A Common Council committee sent the helipad proposal to the full Council without recommendation pending next week's test run. Kaleida said the elevated landing pad would be built on the roof of the 16-story hospital at 100 High St. on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The city Planning Board also was briefed on the proposed helipad Tuesday by an attorney who represents Kaleida. Marc A. Romanowski said the landing pad will be a key component in serving patients in a new heart and vascular center that will include an expanded emergency department. He estimated that the helipad would serve an average of two flights per day.

"In fact, we expect it's going to be much, much less than that for quite a while," Romanowski said.

A noise study was performed by Tech Environmental, and company president Peter H. Guldberg said it was determined that sound levels will not disrupt surrounding neighborhoods.

"Residents who are nearest the hospital [will hear] something similar to a truck passing by for a duration of about 10 seconds," Guldberg said.

But Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen said some residents who live near the hospital remain concerned about noise. That's why a test flight will be conducted at 5 p.m. Monday.

"I encourage residents to come outside of their homes at 5 o'clock to really get the impact of the worst-case scenario of how it might sound in the summertime," Pridgen said.

The Planning Board said it cannot take a stand on the helipad until the Council takes action.

But another project won approval by the Planning Board, as the panel praised a local law firm's effort to redevelop a long-vacant building on Main Street near the Theater District.

The four-story structure at 496 Main near Mohawk Street would undergo extensive interior and exterior renovations, said David Sutton of Dean Sutton architects. The firm Ricotta Visco Attorneys hopes to occupy the building by early fall.

The $1.5 million project would include restoring many hidden architectural details on the building's exterior. The interior would feature a four-story-high atrium with skylights.

The last tenant in the structure was a small Chinese restaurant that moved out a few years ago, developers said.

The Planning Board also approved a $5.2 million housing project proposed at Maryland and West streets and plans to build a wooden covered walkway in the 700 block of Seneca Street.


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