RHINELANDER - The Ministry Spirit 2 helicopter won't be moving into its new home just yet, after a planning and development meeting this afternoon.
Ministry Healthcare planned to house the Spirit 2 helicopter at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff.
But community concern and the permitting process have slowed things down.
The Ministry Spirit 2 helicopter is currently housed at the Oneida County Airport. But Ministry Health Care wants it to be more centrally located by building a helipad at Howard Young Medical Center.
People living near the proposed site have spoken out against the plans though, citing noise concerns. The Town of Woodruff requested Ministry apply for a conditional use permit.
Wednesday the Oneida County Planning and Development committee met to postpone granting the permit. Ministry Health Care asked for the extension.
"We agreed to slow it down and give them the time to give them the answers because there are considerable unhappy people in the neighborhood, and there's considerable unhappy people in the general public that are both pushing both directions," says Mike Timmons, from the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee.
The committee agreed to give itself up to six months to resolve the issues, but says it will likely be done by spring.
FOREST COUNTY - Forest Count and Wisconsin Off-Road Vehicle Park Inc. (WORVPI) have found a 10,000 acre plot of land they would like to buy for an off-road park, according to WORVPI President John Schnorr.
Schnorr wouldn't discuss the exact location in Forest County, but said they would hope to buy the parcels by June 2014. Right now they’re contracting an engineering firm to evaluate the land.
"That's so environmental concerns can be met," Schnorr said. "We'll look at that as well as a pleasurable experience for an off-road visitor who is going to come up and spend hopefully a weeks vacation in Forest County."
Forest County leaders believe an off-road park could help bring more tourists to the area, and with that more money. The county has the fifth worst unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, in Wisconsin.
WORVPI used Ripon College to perform a feasibility study on the off-road park. It says the average off-roader will travel 300 miles to visit an off-road park. It also projected an off-road park could bring in nearly $28 million per year for Forest County businesses.
"It will take us some time to operate and open it up and develop the trails, the camp sites, the amenities inside," Schnorr said. "Realistically we could see an opening date of Memorial Day of 2015."
The park would host ATVs, motorcycles and other vehicles on off-road trails.
People can help fund the park by purchasing $150 charter membership passes. More than 30 have already been purchased. Schnorr says only 100 will be available.
"The pass will entitle the holder to a park pass, an annual park pass, for the first year when the park opens," Schnorr said. "It will give us some capital up front and afford them a discounted price down the road."
Even with the progress, Schnorr says the project is still in the early stages.
"If you are an optimist, you think a huge amount of progress has been made," Schnorr said. "But if you are a pessimist, not enough progress has been made."
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