A 160-foot tall emergency communications tower will rise high above a former army base on Wintergreen Avenue.
That’s thanks to a unanimous approval by the City Plan Commissioners.
The vote last Wednesday night marks a step in the redevelopment of the empty Army Reserve base just north of a set of Southern Connecticut State University’s dormitories. The building will become the new police training academy, which will move its current home on Sherman Avenue.
Click here to read a previous story about the plans.
Officials also plan to move the Sherman Avenue police academy firing range to the Wintergreen site. That will take longer, as the police department is in the process of securing a federal grant to construct the new range.
At Wednesday night’s City Plan, proceeding, Robert J. Manfield Jr., of Hamden-based Utility Communications, Inc., represented the city. He said the city’s plans include moving police and fire dispatch centers to the site and for the tower eventually to support emergency communications not only for the city’s departments but for emergency safety operations throughout the region.
Currently the chief emergency communications tower sits atop East Rock. That will continue to be the main tower, Manfield said in response to a query from City Plan Commission Chair Ed Mattison.
“This [the Wintergreen tower] will allow on-site communications in case of disaster,” Manfield added.
The tower is planned as a lattice structure that will rise behind the long, low-lying building. The tower’s base will not be visible from Wintergreen Avenue. It will be fenced in for security. All the equipment pertaining to it will be inside the building.
Commissioners asked whether the the tower will interfere with communications of residents in the general area. The answer was no, especially as, except for the dormitories, the only residences are in the Brookside redevelopment area a quarter mile away.
What about the danger of the tower falling on the graves in the Jewish cemetery north of the site? asked aldermanic representative Adam Marchand.
City Plan chief Karyn Gilvarg assured him the cemetery is well beyond the tower’s “fall zone.”
A City Plan Department staff report states that the tower “will not significantly interfere with views from the east, west or north. While the new tower will be prominent, its lattice type structure is less massive than some of the other types of towers and is an essential part of the communications network for many public safety agencies.”