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Gazette Premium Content New tower should help cellular service in Black Forest, Falcon

BOB STEPHENS Updated: February 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

If anyone realizes how important reliable phone service is, it’s the fire department.

So Falcon Fire Chief Trent Harwig was more than happy to help bring improved cell phone service to residents in the eastern part of Black Forest.

El Paso County commissioners this week unanimously approved a special land use on the 5.68-acre parcel that houses Falcon Fire Station No. 2, paving the way for a 95-foot stealth mono-pine cell tower.

“That area’s always been bad for cells,” Harwig said. “Depending where you’re standing on the lot, you may or may not have cell service.”

The tower will improve communication in Falcon School District 49 between school bus drivers and their dispatch center, said Falcon Battalion Chief Jeff Petersma.

“The school district has a vested interest in improving service and so do we,” Petersma said. “They’re on our tower now, a 41-foot tower. It’ll be a win-win situation for us.”

Harwig said locating the new tower — which will be disguised to look like a pine tree — on land owned by the Falcon Fire Protection District makes sense.

“There is always some opposition to towers, no matter where you put them,” Harwig said. “It makes sense being on public property because the revenue generated helps everybody.”

Harwig said the company that owns the tower, Fidelity Towers, Inc., will pay about $10,000 rent annually to the fire district.

Fidelity will sell space on the new tower and Harwig said AT&T plans to buy space. Petersma said the Falcon Fire Protection District is contacting Sprint and Verizon “to get them on the (new) tower.”

Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens

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