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10/18/2019 - New Telecommunications Tower Improves Public Safety

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, Cumberland County officials dedicated ground for the construction of a new telecommunications tower in Commercial Township. Once operational, the tower will form a critical part of the County’s emergency communications system upgrade. In a ribbon cutting ceremony, Freeholder Director Joseph Derella stated, “The tower was made feasible by a public-private partnership with Vertical Bridge Development, LLC that leveraged private investment to build the tower on public property purchased by the County in Commercial Township for the site of the tower and the County’s Region 3 Public Works maintenance operations.” In describing the project, Derella said, “The County will use the tower for emergency, public safety and other governmental communications.” Vertical Bridge will have right to lease space on the tower to private communication companies which will enhance cell phone service in the Bay shore communities.

Deputy Freeholder Director Darlene Barber described the project as a “win-win” for County residents stating, “The new tower is part of the County’s ongoing commitment to establish a modern, robust public safety and emergency services communication system throughout all of Cumberland County.” Freeholder Barber pointed out, “historically Cumberland County police, fire and EMS agencies have not had consistently compatible communications systems.” “This lack of standardization and what public safety officials call “interoperability” can cause confusion during emergency operations”, stated Barber. “The primary goal is to provide a county wide emergency communications platform with all public safety entities working on one common 700MHz system within the County, state and region”, Barber explained.

Freeholder Barber indicated that the pre-existing buildings at the Port Norris tower site will positively impact the County’s public works capabilities in Commercial, Downe and Maurice River Townships. “The property is the former location of Port Norris Express Trucking and features a three bay garage, wash bay, and other buildings providing a convenient and efficient facility for the maintenance and storage of equipment servicing those communities”, added Barber.

From left to right: Chief Jennifer Lichtenstein, Gabe Scarpa, Director of Emergency Services, Sheriff Robert Austino, Freeholder George Castellini, Director Joseph Derella, Deputy Director Darlene Barber, Congressman Jeff VanDrew, Freeholder Carol Musso, County Clerk Celeste Riley, Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae


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