Dropped phone calls and poor reception could become a thing of the past in Bradenton Beach.
At a May 1 meeting, Commissioner Ed Straight said construction of the Bradenton Beach cell tower near the city’s public works facility, 400 Church Ave., would begin in early June.
As soon as Florida Tower Partners LLC of Bradenton breaks ground, the city will receive its first payment of $320,000.
“That’s wonderful,” Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said on hearing of the pending funds.
The proposed tower will be 150 feet high on a 60-by-70-foot foundation
The structure will begin at the southeast corner of the public works building and stretch east toward the marina and south into the city parking lot, although only one parking space is expected to be eliminated.
FTP representative Kevin Barile said the construction would take six-10 weeks.
“Normally we have these things up in five to seven weeks, but this is a little different because it’s in a flood zone and we have to construct an elevated deck and platform,” he said.
Barile said FTP has received the required clearance from the Federal Communications Commission.
Straight said Verizon and AT&T are the two primary providers, but there will be room for eight other cell companies on the tower.
Each provider must pay the city $2,500 a month for the use of its tower.
Commissioners unanimously approved the land lease to construct the cell tower Jan. 23.
The contract took 12 years to come to fruition.
“It’s great to finally break ground on a project like this because you spend so much of your time jumping through all the hoops before it can happen,” Barile said. “I’m happy to see it’s actually happening.”
The proposal met opposition from residents near the site who argued that property values would decrease and cited safety concerns from a tower collapse, as well as radiation health concerns.
Barile said the tower would be designed with a collapse point, a 30-foot clearance zone for a fall. He said all of the equipment would be stored inside the tower, so nothing will fly off the structure in winds in excess of 115 mph.
Barile also said that the radiation is minimal and would not cause negative effects for residents.
FTP also is planning a tower at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, according to Barile.
He said construction on that project is predicted to get underway in November or December.