MOXAHALA – Thanks to the generosity of a Pleasant Township trustee, the Medflight helicopter service has a new landing zone in southern Perry County. Jeff Berry, one of the township’s three trustees, owns a tract of property located in Moxahala where State Route 13 makes a 90-degree turn. He has recently made the decision to renovate this empty lot into a place for copters to set down.
“We’ve had the site for over 20 years, and we decided to convert it into a landing zone for Medflight,” described Berry. He added that he will maintain ownership of the ground, but Medflight will be able to use it free of cost.
“There’s no paperwork or transfer,” explained Berry, “it’s just a gentlemen’s agreement, so to speak.”
While those kinds of terms are as out-of-date as phone booths, Jeff Berry’s actions on behalf of his township are the real deal. He has 20 years of service to Pleasant Township to prove it. However, his idea to create a spot for a Medflight landing zone is not a new one.
“I’ve been thinking about a landing zone this for a long time,” he said. He has had this location in mind for just such a purpose, but a few physical traits of the property stood in the way. While the area is level, a huge tree on one side of the lot and power lines running parallel to Route 13 made it impossible to safely land a helicopter there.
A conversation with a Moxahala resident who owned the tree secured permission to have it felled. “I approached Eve about the tree and my idea. She said her father had planted that tree, but she had no problem with us removing it,” explained Berry.
Some grading and fill dirt were done as well as improving the township road that borders one side of the new landing zone. Berry says he will be responsible for snow removal and will keep a 100 –feet-by-100-feet spot cleared of snow.
“I’m going to push it on that property across the township road because the owner of that land is my brother,” Berry said with a laugh.
Other additions to the new landing site are a windsock and a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant is connected to a four-inch line that cannot be used by fire trucks today. In order to gain a water from the hydrant, a special tub can be placed next to the fire hydrant and firefighters will be able to access water from the tub.
“That line would collapse if a six-inch line was connected to it, “explained Berry.
The windsock also comes with a slight problem. “I put the pole for the windsock on the highway right-of-way,” said Berry. He said, however, that this problem will soon be resolved. He was initially worried that the height of the windsock was not adequate, but Medflight personnel informed him that the 12-foot-high windsock is at a perfect height.
“Those guys told me they can determine the wind’s speed and direction at their flying altitude, but the windsock tells them what the wind is doing on the surface,” explained Berry.
A dedication for the landing zone, officially known as The Moxy Landing Site, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Jeff Berry says plenty of cold water will be available for all those in attendance.