FAA Rejects Tower Site

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Plans for a new E911 communicaitons tower on a site near Lockheed are now dead. The Federal Aviation Administration rejected the plan.

The E911 Commission met Thursday and heard the bad news from attorney, Wink Glover.

"Don't hold me to the numbers, but it was like we were looking for a tower like 470 feet. They approved it at 249 or 250 feet," said Glover. "So we're back to square one on the tower replacement."

Two hundred fifty feet is unacceptable because the signals would not cover the entire county. Over a year ago the city offered to lease a six acre site at its training facility to E911, which would in turn lease it to a private company that would build the tower, operate it and pay E911 for using the site.

Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith objected, saying the city should be paid for the use of its property. That's when the county went looking for another site, selected one near Lockheed and put up $5,000 earnest money to buy it.

Ward 3 city councilman Bobby Smith suggested they go back to that deal and take it.

"Why don't we just forget all this bickering we've been doing and go ahead and try to do something if it's okay with the FAA and the FCC? asked Smith.

Clarence Butler told the board LEMA is desperate for a new tower.

"We have hand-held radios (with which) we cannot talk to outlying areas at all.," Butler said. "We have to phone to get paged and can't even talk back to the dispatcher until they get to the fire truck and find a cell phone. Nobody's hurting worse than we are."

The problem is compounded by the fact that the light at the top of the present tower is burned out and must be fixed by the end of July or E911 and the county will be fined.

Yet this tower is so unstable it can't be climbed. In the end the board voted to recommend taking the city's original deal, and locate the tower at the training center, if the FAA and FCC have approved the site.


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