New Dexter flagpole will be fitted with cellular antenna

Friday, August 20, 2004

DEXTER, Mo. -- Dexter's West Park, despite its many attractions and clean grounds, does not have a flagpole or a flag. That will all be changing soon thanks to Cingular Wireless in what city leaders see as a win-win situation.

According to Dexter city administrator Mark Stidham, Cingular Wireless had been looking for a tower location in the city of Dexter since 2002.

"Their business over the past couple years just went through the roof," Stidham remarked. "But they were still interested in finding a tower location."

Stidham said the company was looking to increase its signal in the area to benefit its local customers. The original plan, according to Stidham, was to mount towers on the water tower in Dexter; but it was later determined that the water tower wouldn't work as a location.

After some negotiation and some research, though, the offer was made to put a tower in Dexter's West Park.

"We didn't want one of those big towers sticking out in the middle of the park," Stidham explained. "We weren't really entertaining the idea until they told us they could do it in the form of a flagpole."

Stidham said, according to Cingular Wireless, a 120-foot flagpole could be erected in the park and an antenna would be installed inside the pole.

Stidham said he liked the idea as there is no flagpole currently in the park.

"I stipulated a couple of things to the company, though," Stidham commented. "I told them that there needs to be an agreement in the lease that mandates the placement of a lock box that will keep vandals from removing the flag. We've also requested that Cingular be responsible for flag replacement and for lighting and that they provide landscaping for the site."

According to Stidham, the site of the pole will be located behind the bathrooms at West Park and will have a small stone building nearby, but will be placed in a well landscaped area.

Stidham said the flagpole/ antenna will be the sole responsibility of Cingular Wireless.

"The company will be paying $650 a month for lease of the ground that the pole will be sitting on," Stidham explained. "And they will be responsible for maintaining the site."

Stidham said the Cingular customers will get a big boost in signal in the Dexter area as a result and that the Dexter Parks and Recreation Board will get the money from Cingular, approximately $7,800 per year, in operating funds.

"It's just something that helps Cingular and their customers; but it also helps the city of Dexter," Stidham said. "We hope that on a pole as large as 120 feet we'll get a large flag that maybe people can see as they drive into town."

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