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Hollywood Takes Step Forward On Agreement With Broward County Over 911 Radio Tower

Hollywood 911
Caitie Switalski
Hollywood City Commissioners hear public comment Wednesday about where a 911 radio tower in the city should go.

City of Hollywood commissioners met again Wednesday to talk about where to put a new 911 radio tower.


Commissioners worked out key terms they want included in an agreement with Broward County in order to choose a location for the tower, after nine months of back-and-forth. 

It's an incremental step forward: Hollywood staff can now draft an actual agreement, which commissioners will vote on next week. Broward's county commission will also have to vote on the agreement.

The tower is part of a long-awaited upgrade to the county's 911 communications system, after it experienced problems during the airport shooting in Fort Lauderdale and the Parkland school shooting.

At a meeting last week, both the city and county agreed to hire a third party expert to evaluate the proposed spots for the tower: West Lake Park or the top of a Hollywood apartment building called The Circ.

Wednesday's discussion included questions about cost, how to choose a neutral new expert, any future construction to maintain the emergency equipment and a possible third location, if both The Circ and West Lake Park are found to be too costly or too slow to get the new emergency system online. 

Hollywood already has one smaller emergency communications tower located at a wastewater treatment plant in the city. 

“Perhaps that tower could be removed, and the county could install a higher tower on that site,” Broward County Attorney Andrew Meyers told Hollywood city commissioners. “If that were viable, that might also offer a good solution.” 

Read More: Broward County, City of Hollywood Still Disagree Over Location For New 911 Tower

In recent months, Hollywood residents have expressed environmental concerns about West Lake Park. 

"It is a wetland. We don't have much wetlands left in this area, so it's important to preserve what we have,” Hollywood resident Pam Burgio said about West Lake Park at the meeting. "I know that this has been ongoing for quite some time…we need to respect the residents and get a great agreement between the city and county.”

Hollywood City Commissioner Caryl Shuham, whose district includes the park, said conservation restrictions called an easement could delay building a tower. She has been fighting for the equipment to go on top of The Circ. 

"We believe it will be finished more quickly," Shuham said. 

Meyers urged Hollywood to cooperate with the county to help get the emergency system upgrade done. 

"This is the last piece of the system," Meyers said. "And this piece needs to fit in with the rest of the system in order to ensure we can protect people, county-wide... delay equals danger under this scenario."

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
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