By Mary Smith
Weathersfield Township has begun using a new safety-services communication tower, located on the township administration building property at 1451 Prospect St.
The tower, paid for by a $495,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to upgrade the communications systems for the city of Niles and the township, was secured by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th.
The upgrade included the purchase of mobile and portable radios, the installation of a 185-foot-tall communications tower on which to mount the necessary antennas, the purchase and installation of receivers and transmitters within each community to eliminate poor signal strength in some areas, and the ability for each community to have a redundant frequency available for backup dispatching purposes.
The project was cited by local officials as an example of “an ongoing effort by the congressman and the two communities to utilize intergovernmental collaboration and cooperation to complete much-needed projects.”
Niles will have a cost of $55,000 toward the project, officials said.
In a related matter, Weathersfield trustees have approved terminating the township’s agreement with Niles for 911 dispatching, effective July 31. The township decided earlier this year to switch to the Trumbull County 911 dispatching service with the consent of Niles.
The county coverage began July 1, and is expected to cost the township about $40,000 less per year, township administrator David Rouan said. The township was paying Niles $65,000 a year, but will pay the county an estimated $20,000.
Trustees also named Rouan to serve on the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative planning/ steering commitee.
The initiative had been operated under the Youngstown State University Center for Urban Studies, but is now under the umbrella of the Western Reserve Port Authority, Rouan said.
He added the township expects it can contribute on the panel and also will benefit since it may aid in obtaining grant money the township is pursuing with brownfield environmental assessment.