New tower may bring end to Milo dead zone

Posted June 02, 2010, at 1:04 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:38 a.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Pockets of dead air space in the Milo-Brownville area make radio and cell phone communication difficult, but that may change this summer with the installation of a new communications tower.

MTS Realty of Marlborough, Mass., has proposed to install at its cost a 210-foot tower and equip it with all new equipment for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department and all other emergency response departments operating from that area, including the local Amateur Radio Emergency Service. The tower would be erected on county-owned land at the civil defense bunker in Milo. Once the new tower has been installed, the four existing towers would be removed.

While Piscataquis County commissioners found the proposal appealing, they agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to have the county’s attorney, Erik Stumpfel of Sangerville, review the proposed 99-year lease agreement. It is anticipated the lease would be signed later this month.

The company would benefit from the new communication tower by serving cell phone providers, and the county and local emergency providers in the Milo-Brownville region would get upgraded service, according to Tom Iverson, Emergency Management Agency director.

“I look at it as a win-win for the county because we’ve been having our issues with communications, especially reaching out into these other areas, and this is going to open it up for us,” Iverson said after Tuesday’s meeting. The current towers on the site are about level with the trees, which makes communications difficult at times.

“It’s not going to make everything perfect, but it’s going to really improve what we have,” he said.

Deputy Chief Sgt. David Roberts of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday there have been occasions when his department has been unable to communicate with Milo-Brownville police and firefighters when they were in certain areas, such as the Katahdin Iron Works region.

“This will give us better range for communications for all first responders from the whole region,” Iverson said.

If the town of Milo taxes the new tower, Stephen Kelleher, MTS Realty LLC site acquisition specialist, told the commissioners his company would pay that cost.

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