Jefferson, Lewis Counties identifying helicopter landing zones to transport supplies downstate

Jefferson, Lewis Counties identifying helicopter landing zones to transport supplies downstate

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - The old Climax Manufacturing parking lot is an option. So is the football field at the Lewis County Fairgrounds. Leaders there are coming up with potential landing zones for military helicopters, as the New York plans to move medical supplies downstate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to take 20% of unused ventilators from upstate hospitals, and move them to areas hard-hit by COVID-19, specifically, the New York City Area.

Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche tells 7News his Office of Emergency Management was contacted this morning, to identify a landing location near Lewis County General Hospital. Piche says the landing zone must be large enough to accommodate CH-47 Chinook choppers and UH-60 Black Hawks. He also says the State is looking for a paved area to land.

As for when choppers may be arriving to collect supplies, Piche says that’s unclear, but it could be happening soon.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Joe Plummer tells 7News officials there are identifying three landing zones near local hospitals.

Jefferson County Legislative Board Chairman Scott Gray is criticizing the execution of the State’s plan, particularly when it comes to the optics.

“No one is opposed to helping anyone. We are all in this together and will need assistance also, but the militarization of the take is unnecessary and unwarranted ,” Gray said.

Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli is also speaking out.

“Why at this time when people are nervous already, would the Governor be sending this kind of equipment to pick things up? I understand it might be faster, but there’s nothing like alarming the people when they start seeing National Guard helicopters flying over their towns,” Carpinelli said.

As for St. Lawrence County, Emergency Management Director Matthew Denner says as of early this afternoon, his office was not contacted by the State to identify potential landing zones.

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