County applies for grant for cell tower in Paw Paw
The Morgan County Commission has applied for a $250,000 grant for a 260-foot self-supporting cell tower in Paw Paw.
The tower would be a multi-purpose 911, cellular service, wireless broadband internet access and state interoperability tower site, said Dave Michael, Emergency Services Director, who wrote the grant. The
tower would be located on Camp Hill where their current 911 emergency services tower stands.
Michael applied to the Wireless Tower Access Assistance Fund for the grant money. The fund consists of money that has been reserved from state wireless 911 fees from cellular phone bills, Michael said. Each year the state of West Virginia sets aside $1 million from all fees collected for the Wireless Tower Access Assistance Fund to construct towers in rural areas, he said.
The deadline for the grant was November 15. In the past few years, the decisions about who received the grants had come in December of the same year, Michael said.
Criteria for the grant depends on how much you can justify the need for the tower, he said.
"The more uses, the higher you'll rank," he said.
The county has done what they promised to Paw Paw citizens to entice the cellular carriers to come in and give us reliable service, Michael said.
They are still having difficulty getting a cellular carrier to commit to putting equipment on the tower and are still lobbying for carriers, Michael said.
Carriers say they don't
want to create a cellular island in Paw Paw where the signal can't link to other towers
for continuous service, he
said. There is basically no
cell phone service along
U.S. Route 9 between Great Cacapon and Paw Paw, Michael said.
Michael wants to put up a minimum of two other cell towers, one at Panorama and another on Sideling Mountain by Valley High Timber Farms, to help cell coverage in the western part of the county.
Citizen support for the cell tower application was sorely needed, Michael said. Michael asked for local residents to write Governor Joe Manchin to express the need for the tower to get wireless internet access and cell phone service. Getting the needed towers built would be a long process, he noted.
"The squeaky wheel gets greased," Michael said.