Ohio’s Richland County Commissioners have set plans in motion for a new county-wide digital emergency radio system, reports RichlandSource.com. The tower would also support and improve cell phone communications in the area. The proposed tower would be 300 feet tall, dwarfing its 90 foot predecessor and could be operational as early as this summer, said Richland County Sheriff’s Department Captain Jim Sweat.
The commissioners earmarked $150,000 for engineering and site studies for the tower. The actual construction will be funded by a $400,000 state capital improvement grant. Sweat noted that the engineering and site design work will be handled by Ohio firm Hull and Associates, LLC for a cost in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. The cost of the accompanying shelter is projected to cost $100,000.
“The entire county share of the cost for this tower will be $150,000, which is hundreds of thousands of dollars less than initially anticipated,” said Sweat.
Richland County already hosts four Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) cell towers. The fifth tower would join the others in coordinating response efforts between fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the region.
Commissioner Tony Vero of Lucas expressed his support for the project and informed Sweat that Lucas was interested in helping to expedite the inclusion of a cell phone company. “Let’s get these parties back together,” he said. “This could be a huge win for the area, if we can improve that cell phone coverage. I have sat in the middle of [Lucas] Village Hall for a meeting and had my phone tell me ‘No Service.’ Let’s restart that group real quick.”