County purchases cell tower equipment

Published 11:43 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lunenburg County had equipment installed on the Verizon tower on Rocky Mill Road improving communications between area emergency responders, officials told the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors at its Thursday meeting.

The installation of the equipment cost the county $37,035 and will allow 911 equipment to connect with other 911 equipment, said Beverley Hawthorne, Lunenburg’s economic and community development director.

In May, county leaders said they would still like to see a cell tower erected in the Dundas community, and is even looking for grant money to pay for the construction.

Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover said he wants to be sure the county is actively promoting the site, in part because a tower there would help improve 911-coverage and the area is “the linchpin to the county’s handheld coverage.”

Hawthorne, said the county makes no secret of its desire to have more cell towers in the area and is working with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative to promote the site and let people know about its availability.

Earlier this year, the board withdrew a conditional use permit from Verizon Wireless to build a 295-foot tower on Mill Pond Road after the company failed to begin construction fast enough.

Community leaders had high hopes for the project, but have also noted the continuing difficulty of attracting providers to a rural community with a small customer base.

A tower for commercial use would normally be over 250 feet, but the county is looking for funding to erect a 190-foot tower to meet emergency operation needs.

“There is the possibility we could get that to close the gap on our emergency services,” Hawthorne said.

The county will also approach Brunswick County, its neighbor that is close to the community to see if it might be willing to go in on the construction and both take advantage of using the tower.

“As we strive to provide a safe environment for our citizens, project and grants such as this are intrinsically important to our success,” said Chairman David M. Wingold in a letter of support to the Commonwealth Regional Council about finding funds for the project.