AirEvac Lifeteam is considering pulling its base out of St. Clair and moving it to Sullivan.
Sullivan City Administrator J.T. Hardy told The Missourian on Thursday that a public hearing has been scheduled to discuss a conditional use permit on land near Missouri Baptist Hospital. That hearing, at 7 p.m. in Sullivan City Hall, 210 W. Washington St., was requested by AirEvac EMS Inc. of O’Fallon that would allow it “to operate an air ambulance business from the property located at 673 Sappington Bridge Road.”
“We require any medical-related businesses to have a CUP to operate,” Hardy said. “The property in question is located right next to the helipad at Missouri Baptist.”
Hardy said the property under consideration already is zoned commercial. He added that another public hearing will be conducted first on an adjacent piece of land with the same owner to change that parcel from residential to commercial. Hardy said basically the owner, Blue Devils LLC of Sullivan, wants the rezoning of the other parcel “to allow for future development.”
The land is on the east side of Highway D from Missouri Baptist in Crawford County. Missouri Baptist’s helipad is just west of Highway D and northeast of the hospital itself.
Sullivan already has an air ambulance service, ARCH Air Medical Services, located at its regional airport.
Julie Heavrin, public relations manager for Air-Evac Lifeteam’s main office in O’Fallon, would not confirm or deny that the air ambulance company is moving. She did say, however, that “We’re looking at some different options right now, but no decisions have been made.”
Heavrin told The Missourian on Thursday that AirEvac has begun exploring options because of the possibility of St. Clair getting permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to close its facility. AirEvac has maintained a base in St. Clair since 2005, and a five-year lease was renewed in 2010.
AirEvac pays a $300-per-month rental fee for use of hangar space at the St. Clair Regional Airport.
“Because St. Clair’s situation is up in the air, our situation is up in the air there, too,” Heavrin said. “But I can’t confirm that we’re seeking a permit in Sullivan.”
Heavrin did say, however, that no matter what happens, local customers will continue to be served by the air ambulance company.
“Whether we move or not, we will still be here for the city of St. Clair,” she said.
In airport closure discussions, St. Clair officials always have maintained that a spot would be found for AirEvac in the city no matter what the FAA rules.
St. Clair City Administrator Rick Childers could not be reached for comment.