Clarion 911 tower plans moving forward

Clarion County’s plan to develop its own 911 emergency system has added another link.

County commissioners have approved an agreement of sale between the county and Mary A. McFarland for a 911 tower site in Farmington Township.

The county is expected to approve a contract with Tower Service Unlimited for engineering services at the Farmington Township 911 tower site at a cost of $2,250.

“They are going to provide the county with a tower foundation design,” said Commissioner Ed Heasley. “We may erect a tower there at some point in the future. We are just buying the land right now.”

The county may purchase the 22 year-old, 400-foot “Motorola Tower” in Strattanville. The tower was erected in 1997 but should have a life expectancy of up to 60 years.

The Motorola tower is 36 feet higher than the Trinity tower currently used by the county. The higher tower would help eliminate some of the dead spots in the county’s 911 emergency service.

The county currently pays a $36,000 annual lease at the Trinity Point tower site. Commissioner Ted Tharan said that when the current lease expires in 2020, the county could be looking at a considerable increase in the lease.

“St. Petersburg is the only tower we currently own,” Tharan said. “We are going to look at the state police tower in Clarion. We also have a tower on the Knox water tank,” Tharan added.

Tharan said the ultimate goal is for the county to own its own towers. He said if the county continues to lease space it could be booted off the towers at some point.

Although improving 911 capabilities is the primary goal, the towers could play another role.

“At some point we would like to look at broadband internet service,” Tharan said.

The county is also looking into a new facility for the 911 center. That center is now located in the old jail in downtown Clarion.