WILMINGTON — A project to dismantle a decommissioned communications tower on land owned by the county may be a step closer with neighboring property owners saying Wednesday they’re interested in re-acquiring the five acres.
The Dwiggins Road tower in Union Township, formerly used for public safety communications, is no longer utilized because the county now has the digital radio system called MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) which has its own towers.
The neighboring property owners, Herman and Pauline “Shay” Doak, attended a discussion Wednesday between the county commissioners and their legal counsel, Clinton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew McCoy, where the tower was the topic.
Two commissioners told the Doaks the tower needs to come down, either due to potential safety issues or because the tower, over time, would be an unused and thus unmaintained eyesore.
Clinton County Commissioner Brenda K. Woods said the lack of bidders when the county twice invited price offers on the tower site tells her private companies in the communications industry do not see a profit in it.
One of the main reasons she recently voted no to the Doaks’ offer of $110 for the site, said Woods, is because without a user the tower in five or 10 years will become an eyesore.
“Here’s this large tower that no one is maintaining and it becomes an eyesore and people think the county still owns it,” said Woods.
The Doaks made their offer during the second round of bid offers. Commissioners subsequently voted 2-1 against accepting the Doaks’ offer, with Commissioner Patrick Haley casting the one vote in favor.
On Wednesday, Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said he thinks the tower poses some safety issues with regard to tower guy-wires located on the Doaks’ property, and with regard to “passing motorists” and others exposed to an unmaintained, uninspected tower structure.
Haley stated Wednesday that according to the Doak Family, during construction of the tower the contractor inadvertently placed a guy-wire — a tensioned cable — on part of their property that was not part of the land purchase. The Doaks have said this mistake was brought to the attention of the contractors at the time, the commissioner added.
“This mistake now makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a tower demolition company to enter onto the property to demolish the tower without obtaining the Doaks’ permission. The demolition company recently said they were reluctant to enter the property,” stated Haley.
Haley also said a radio tower company recently submitted an estimate of $6,000 to dismantle the tower.
“It is anticipated there will be additional costs to haul the disassembled tower away. Now [after turning down the Doaks’ bid previously], the county now must spend taxpayer money to dismantle the tower and have it hauled away,” stated Haley.
Mrs. Doak said Wednesday a key reason they want to acquire the land is to be officially designated a farm by having more than 10 acres. Currently, she said, they have 9.1 acres, and the additional land would put them over the threshold.
She also said if the tower is coming down, she and her husband would appreciate an opportunity “to somehow acquire” the land.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.