“Dead Zones,” Airports and Outcry: Manatee Tower Project Still on Hold

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UPDATE   A controversial, 185-foot 911 communications tower project, which was put on hold in May, is stirring controversy again between Manatee County Commissioners, county staff, and residents, reported The Bradenton Times. The tower being built by Motorola is intended to address a communication “dead zone” hampering first responders in the University Parkway corridor.

However, construction on the $1 million tower was stopped by the board after public outcry that no notice was given to residents regarding the project, near Kinnan Elementary. According to Paul Alexander, Manatee County’s director of information technology services, all procedures have been followed to a tee and further meetings are not required. Commissioners disagreed and accused staff of using a loophole.  

Many residents complain about the proximity of the project to the elementary school, worry about decreased property values, and suggest a better site could have been identified if the community had been involved. Commissioners agreed but noted that the cost of continuing the delay, which would be compounded by hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering costs should a new site be selected, had made the situation even more problematic.

The tower’s integration is to be part of a new $35 million public safety communication project between Sarasota and Manatee counties, reported the Times. Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the stop work order until November 1, when staff and Motorola are expected to present other possibilities.

August 15, 2018

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