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New radio tower seals fate of old water tower

By Staff | Aug 10, 2009

It’s been standing for a long, long time.

Now, the fate of Blue Earth’s old water tower is just a matter of time.

A contractor has started work on a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) radio tower at the site of the new Faribault County Law Enforcement Center.

Crew members of Data Cell Systems of Joliet, Ill., were busy Tuesday morning working on the foundation and footings.

When work is completed the sheriff’s department will take its radio antennas off the old water tower and “piggyback” on the states at no cost.

“This only means we’ll be putting our equipment on the new tower. No decision has been made on using the 800 mega hertz system,” says Sheriff Mike Gormley.

State officials took their time deciding whether to erect its tower at the new jail site.

County authorities were told a decision would be made by January 2008.

Last month, MnDOT officials and Gormley met for two hours to discuss the construction schedule.

Completion of the 330-foot tower, which will be used for the new 800 mega hertz state system, is expected early October.

Gormley says once inspection of the tower is completed, their antennas will be moved.

Blue Earth Light and Water (BELW) also has waited patiently to see what the state and county would do.

BELW manager Paul Leland says the company’s board of directors probably will discuss what to do at their next meeting.

“We might just wait until spring to take it down. There is no pressing need to get it torn down. But that’s up to the board,” Leland says.

A few companies have expressed interest in tearing down the 155-foot tower to salvage the metal.

Leland says bids will be accepted for the work and estimates it could cost at least $20,000.

Leland is not sure how old the tower is. He thinks it was constructed in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

“We want to take it down before it starts to rust,” he says.