Another fairgrounds cell tower proposed

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May 18, 2009

The Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds could get a new light pole to match its new flagpole.

Except they are not just a flagpole and a light pole.

This winter, workers built a 100-foot cellular communications tower in a 25-by-50-foot fenced and landscaped space in the center of the fairgrounds.

The tower was designed to function as a flagpole. It is in the final weeks of construction, said Randy Thompson, UW Extension ag agent.

This week, the Rock County Ag and Extension Education Committee learned about a proposal for another 90- to 100-foot wireless communication tower at the fairgrounds.

If it were built, the new tower could be installed on the other side of the grandstands to the west from the existing tower, Thompson said.

It could be built to function as a light pole, said Rosemarie Barrette, site acquisition and zoning specialist for FMHC Corporation of Chicago. The company is a contractor that negotiates site acquisition and construction for wireless towers, Barrette said.

The county and FMHC will host a neighborhood information session about the project at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the fairgrounds.

After that, FMHC will apply to the city for the necessary permits, Barrette said.

The tower would require a conditional-use permit. The planning commission has discretion over such applications, said Gale Price, manager of building and development services for the city.

If the city approves the project, the county then would negotiate for a payment for the tower, Thompson said.

The bar has been set by the current tower, which has been lucrative for the county, Thompson said.

The current tower generates about $35,000 annually. That money will be used to maintain and improve the fairgrounds, Thompson said.

No contract terms have been discussed for the new project, Thompson said.

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