“Secret” Tower Project Draws Local Critics and Safety Support
UPDATE Manatee County commissioners decided to halt a much needed $1 million radio tower project in May after residents complained that they were not properly notified of the construction, reported the Bradenton Herald.
Present at a recent public meeting were 100 residents opposing the project along with emergency response representatives who are in favor of the tower. Southern Manatee Fire Chief Brian Gorski spoke about south Manatee County’s outdated emergency communications system, saying how dangerous it is for both emergency responders and the public.
The new 185-foot public safety tower will provide service to a now “dead zone” along the University Parkway corridor between Interstate 75 and U.S. 301, and extending south into Sarasota County.
Residents acknowledged the need for the tower but opposed the way the county mishandled communication around the project, including the absence of a public hearing and lack of opportunity for public input, violating procedure.
Resident Gary Adams noted, “No county meetings, no public meetings, no public input was asked. This tower is 88 feet from my property and I found two weeks after construction was underway — two weeks … with a flyer, not even a letter.”
If the county decides to relocate the tower, it could take anywhere between six to 12 months and cost between $1 to $1.4 million. There’s also a possible fee that would have to be paid to the construction company for a delay, according to Paul Alexander, Manatee County’s information technology director.
County planners are expected to “draw up a report and put up some analysis and present that to the board,” County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino said. Until then, construction remains halted, reported the Herald.