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Helicopter to serve Crittenden hospital

The Crittenden Press

MARION - A deal has been struck that will see a medical helicopter based in Marion in the near future.

The board of directors for Crittenden Health Systems on Tuesday gave the nod to a lease agreement with Air Evac Lifeteam which will land one of the company's signature red, white and blue helicopters on the grounds at the hospital on a permanent basis.

Air Evac will pay a monthly fee in exchange for the right to base a medical team and aircraft at the hospital. The air medical base should be operational by fall.

"Our goal is to have it completed by September," said Whitney Miller, a field development manager with Air Evac.

The air medical service will pay the hospital a monthly fee of $1,700 during the first five years of the deal. That goes up to $1,900 during the second five-year term and $2,100 in the third.

Miller said the deal will bring in 15 full-time jobs to the county.

The move requires no capital investment from the hospital, but represents a $3 million investment for Air Evac, which will develop roughly an acre of land behind the hospital. The development will include a hangar, a helipad, an office and a fueling station.

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