Independent expert to be brought in to decide fate of Hollywood radio tower

By Ian Margol - Reporter

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Hollywood city commissioners are taking up the fight once again over where to put a much-needed emergency radio tower. 

They've been battling with Broward County over the location of the structure meant to fix the lapses in the county's 911 communications system.

Both sides have their own experts, who do not agree on which site would be best. So now they're trying to agree on a third, independent expert, who would help make a final decision.

The two sites both sides are considering seriously are West Lake Park and the Circ hotel.

Many people living in Hollywood have protested the county's preference of West Lake Park, saying it would ruin the landscape and create a dangerous situation for people and animals living in the area.

But county officials said the Circ, which is the city's preferred location, poses its own issues, potentially having a lower-quality signal and being more difficult to put into place.

Each side has their own experts who support their individual positions. So now they're working on drafting an interlocal agreement that would bring in a third party expert to make a decision on a location.

"This is more than about our residents and our officials hoping to spare one site. It's really about providing a site that provides greater safety for all residents of Broward County," Hollywood Commissioner Caryl Shuham said. 

While bringing in an independent expert will lead to finally starting construction, it is still several months out, which is a major concern for emergency management leaders.

"The most important factor here is how fast we can turn our system on. We're putting our best efforts, all of us, into getting this new system installed and operational as quickly as possible," Tracy Jackson, of Broward County Emergency Services & Communications, said. 

Both sides must approve the agreement by mid-week next week.

Even if all goes smoothly, we're looking at several more months before construction would begin, which is a major concern, considering this is the only tower for this new system that is not under construction yet, or for that matter, already finished.

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