Cellular system proposed for Sharpsburg

April 07, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHARPSBURG - Cellular One and Washington County are negotiating to put three 8-foot-high cellular antennae on top of Sharpsburg's water tank, a county official said Monday night.

Allowing the cellular telephone company to put the antennae on the 135-foot-high water tank off High Street near the Little League field would have less impact on Antietam National Battlefield than if the company built a new tower, battlefield Superintendent John Howard wrote.

"Really this is a rock and a hard place for the battlefield," Howard said after Mayor George Kesler read Howard's letter during the monthly Town Council meeting.

The antennae would not be on the battlefield, but Howard was concerned about the view from the battlefield.

If the antennae were painted a similar color as the water tank, they wouldn't be detrimental to the view from Antietam battlefield, Howard said.


"It will not look like a porcupine. I can promise you that," said Dean Lowry, the county's real property administrator. "From the park you wouldn't know they're there."

Lowry said allowing cellular antennae on top of the water tank would reduce the need for a separate cellular tower on Red Hill south of Keedysville.

The antennae would improve cellular service from Boonsboro to Shepherdstown, W.Va., including Keedysville and Dargan, he said.

The county's fire, rescue and engineering departments could expand their communications using the cellular service at a lower cost than if they upgrade the system on their own, Lowry said.

No other antennae could be added to the water tank without county approval, Lowry said. He said he would inform town officials of additional requests for antennae.

Cellular One would build a small one-story building near the base of the tank to house communications equipment, Lowry said.

Sharpsburg Town Council members Sidney Gale, Denise Troxell, Ralph Hammond and Matt Ryan voted to support the project. They stipulated that they must be kept up to date on negotiations and that the cellular company would paint the tank and the equipment building to match the tank's color.

According to Lowry, the other four county-owned sites Cellular One is considering for antennae are:

* The 35-foot-high Sandy Hook water tank, which is on the ground.

* The Highfield water tank, which is on the ground.

* Pen Mar near High Rock. County officials were considering putting a water tank there, but might not have such a need.

* The County Administration Building at 100 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

Lowry said county officials want feedback from residents in the affected areas.

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