By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s administration appears to have sent the right signal in proposing having the city seek proposals for designing and building a new communications tower at the City Hall complex on Dover Center Road.
City officials are moving ahead on getting a new tower set up for several city of North Olmsted departments. Currently, the city pays $21,600 annually to maintain safety and service department radio antennas on a tower located on the roof of The Westbury Apartments building located at the intersection of Great Northern Boulevard and Brookpark Road.
However, North Olmsted safety-service Director Scott Thomas said having its own tower would benefit the city by giving it greater security and control of its own communications tower and equipment.
“Having it at City Hall would make it much easier for the city in terms of access and control,” he said. “It’s better for us in terms of security and maintenance to be in control of the facility where our communications tower and equipment is located. It would be significantly closer to all the departments and workers it affects.”
Thomas said he, police Chief Jamie Gallagher and fire Chief Tom Klecan reviewed the matter and found the City Hall complex could handle a communications tower.
He estimated overall costs for building and installing the tower would be around $150,000.
Kennedy said the move will aid the city financially.
“It will be better to have our own facility where we won’t be paying rent and and better monitor security,” he said.
Kevin Kearney, chairman of City Council’s Recreation, Public Parks & Buildings Committee, liked the proposal. Kearney, a construction foreman, said it’s better to have close access to the equipment in case any work needs to be done on it.
“It’s a good thing for the city to be in control of its own equipment so we don’t have to jump through hoops to get to it,” he said.
Kearney said he also liked the idea of possibly getting other entities on a communications or cell tower on the City Hall campus.
Paul Barker, chairman of city council’s finance committee, also liked the plan.
“We haven’t done this before due to residents’ concerns about possible placement of a tower,” he said. “But having it on the City Hall campus makes sense and is a good move.”
Steve Wolf, a city resident and former North Olmsted police officer, also endorsed the idea during the public comment portion of the Feb. 19 City Council meeting. He recalled when he was a sergeant who had to deal with the communications needs of the department and how there had been previous discussion on moving the radio equipment off Westbury. He said nothing came of those talks, but thinks doing it now would be better for all city departments.
Thomas said city officials would move on getting proposals as quickly as possible.