Friday, February 23, 2001

New tower to aid police

Telecommunications structure to carry cities' radio traffic

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AMBERLEY VILLAGE — Construction has started on a telecommunications tower in French Park that will handle the fire and police signals for eight communities as well as wireless phone service in the area.

        The tower will handle radio traffic for police and fire departments in Amberley Village, Wyoming, Reading, Deer Park, Silverton, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place and Indian Hill, broadcasting them on a system known as the Valley Band.

        The fire and police departments get the service free because Cincinnati Bell Wireless, Verizon Wireless and GTE Sprint are building the tower to serve their customers in the area.

        Many cell companies share towers with others because getting land for towers is often difficult. Some communities require telecommunication companies to prove that they cannot share with another company in the same area before they will issue a permit to build a tower.

        The new French Park location comes as a stroke of luck for GTE Sprint and Verizon Wireless and a blessing in disguise for Pleasant Ridge residents.

        The tower is being built next to an old one that has handled the Valley Band signals since the 1970s.

        Cincinnati Bell owns a tower in Pleasant Ridge that it bought from AT&T. The tower caused controversy when it was built because residents complained that it was built without their approval, was on the border of a residential and business district, and would deflate property values.

        Cincinnati Bell agreed in 1997 that it would tear the tower down if it could find a new location. The new French Park tower fits the bill.

        “We plan to honor that agree ment,” said Pat Bready, director of government relations for Cincinnati Bell Wireless.

        She said it may be June before the tower is finished and each carrier is connected to it. Then the old tower will be demolished.

        “It may take longer than expected because each company will build certain parts of the tower,” she said.

        “We think this will be a great improvement for us because it will be all-new equipment,” said Amberley Village Police Chief John Monahan. “An advantage to us is that we get a new tower with new equipment free.”


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