Ahoskie reaches new heights

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

AHOSKIE – Police officers and citizens alike will be happy to know that the existing 60-foot antennae above Ahoskie’s Police Department will soon reach new heights.

In a town meeting held last week, members of the Council discussed options for improving dispatch radio coverage for local law enforcement officials.

The town reviewed the possibility of taking over a tower owned by Adelphia Cable company on a rented plot of land at the Atlantic District Fairground, but later decided due to long-term cost effectiveness not to proceed.

Adelphia, who no longer utilizes the tower, offered to allow the town to assume ownership to relieve itself of liability in the event the structure were to suffer damages from weather or other potential hazards or disasters.

After reviewing the opportunity in closer detail, the town noted that there would be significant costs associated with repairs and regular maintenance required by the Federal Communications Commission, the FAA and OSHA and could potentially run in the ballpark of $33,000 annually.

Additionally, the town would have to purchase a generator to sustain the tower and an enclosure to house the radio equipment. The tower would also require mounting hardware, which has becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Based on that information, council members opted out of assuming responsibility for the structure and moved to consider other options available to the town.

The option to relocate the antennae from above the police station to the top of the water tower off Memorial Drive had also been discussed, however, costs would still be incurred to provide an enclosure for the radio equipment as well as for the purchase of a generator, leaving the town with concerns similar to the option of assuming the Adelphia tower.

The town conceded that it would be in the best interest of the town to employ the option of renting the use of a tower belonging to local resident William Byrd.

If the town were to utilize the Byrd tower, it would have the option of going up to 200 feet to increase its dispatch radio coverage.

Council members agreed that although it might not be necessary to go up the whole 200 feet, 100-150 feet should be considered. The Byrd site is in a convenient and effective location for the town’s needs and is already equipped with a generator and facilities to house the necessary radio hardware.

Byrd is currently in the process of communicating with Sprint to determine the length of time it would take to bring the project into completion.