Hollywood, Broward County leaders continue dispute about where to place new radio tower

Leaders agree to hire independent expert to examine Circ hotel proposal

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Aging emergency radio equipment used by first responders in Broward County showed signs of failure during last year's Parkland school shooting and during the rush to get to the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017.

Leaders from both Broward County and the city of Hollywood agree that new equipment must be erected in east Hollywood, but they differ on where.

"Let's put on just common sense for one minute. You don't need to build a tower in West Lake Park," Hollywood Commissioner Caryl Shuham said. 

"This is where we want it, in West Lake Park. So this should've been done years ago," Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said. 

The county's other option is placing just an antenna on top of the existing Circ Hotel in Hollywood. 

Doing that would make the technology unstable and cost more money to maintain down the road, so county commissioners voted it down weeks ago.

A zoning measure kicked back to the city last night for a vote about a 325-foot tower at West Lake Park.

The commission unanimously voted against it.

"So you see yesterday as a win?" Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney asked Lisa Stingone, who lives near West Lake Park.

"Yes," Stingone answered. "I mean, it's a step and hopefully the county will understand there's a better option that can be done faster."

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen wasn't pleased by the vote.

"We did everything you asked us to do and now we're back to where we were at the beginning," he said. 

But city and county leaders appeared to make some progess Thursday.

"Commissioners and Hollywood City officials agreed to hire an independent expert to examine the proposal to build the public safety tower on top of the Circ hotel and determine if it can be done to meet county specs and standards," Broward County spokeswoman Kimberly Maroe said in an email to Forney. "If the expert says it can be done -- and any extra costs are involved -- the city of Hollywood will pay those costs."

Maroe said the county estimates the cost of building the tower in West Lake Park at around $900,000.

She said Broward County commissioners will vote on a finanlized version of the agreement next Tuesday.

Hollywood commissioners will hold an emergency meeting the following day. 

"If Hollywood doesn't approve today's hashed out agreement, (the) county will pursue litigation," Maroe said.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.