Blue Line bump-out allows for communications tower

A new communications tower will be built on a private parcel in the town of Bellmont, allowing Franklin County emergency services to get word out faster.

Evolution Tower and Site Services of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, recently purchased the parcel, which touches the Adirondack Park but is not inside it, at 29 Musgrove Road near Jacobs Road.

The new tower would be owned by Evolution, which is leasing tower space to the county emergency services. The company could also lease space to cellular phone services, increasing the signal strength in the Bellmont area.

Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said the tower site is definitely outside the park’s Blue Line. The 185-foot tower will help emergency services contact personnel when there’s a need.

“It’s not so much for incoming 911 calls,” said Provost.

While some emergency services still employ sirens to let their crews know when there’s an emergency, cellphones, radios and pagers are part of the mix.

“We have an underserved area,” said Provost. “For our Owls Head and Bellmont fire departments it will improve our communications. We’re going to set up two channels of two-way radio traffic and set up a paging system.”

Bringing cellphone service inside the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line boundary has sometimes proven slow and problematic, with the most communications towers being erected along the I-87 corridor. According to data from the Adirondack Park Agency, four permits were issued for new towers within the park in 2016: a new 125-foot tower for Cingular Wireless PCS, LLT (AT&T) in the town of Queensbury; a 20-foot tower on Rattlesnake Mountain southeast of an already existing tower; an 89-foot tower in Harrietstown on Forest Home Road; and a 60-foot tower in Warrensburg 2 miles from I-87.

Coverage gaps persist in many areas of the park, especially in Lewis, Hamilton, Franklin and Essex counties.