Plans for a new cell tower could enhance emergency response in Boone County

POSTED: 03:11 PM CST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 07:16 AM CST Nov 14, 2013 
BOONE COUNTY, Mo. -

A new cellphone tower in Boone County could strengthen more than just residents' cellphone signal.

The Boone County Fire Protection District has reached an agreement for a new cell tower to be located on the fire district's property. In return, all emergency services in Boone County can put their radios on the tower to boost communication signals.

Right now, some areas of Boone County and northwest Columbia have a weak signal, and Boone County fire officials said this can occasionally cause some challenges.

"Sometimes it's a low-volume issue," said Gale Blomenkamp with the Boone County Fire Protection District. "Sometimes, you may have to call twice to get ahold of someone in certain areas."

But with a new tower, all of those problems could be fixed. And with a contract ready to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission, that fix is one step closer.

St. Charles Tower Inc. has agreed to pay the Boone County Fire Protection District $800 a month to lease the land.

"If it really comes to fruition, which I think it will, it will truly be a win-win situation for all of us," said the chairman of the board for the Boone County Fire Protection District, Dave Griggs.

The money Boone County Fire receives for leasing the land will help in other ways.

"It would just go straight into the Fire District's general revenue fund, but we have plenty of needs and limited dollars," Griggs said.