Monroe’s water tower will soon look different. Here’s why.

Monroe, Sprint reach agreement on relocating wireless equipment that is currently on the city’s water tower in Mound Cemetery. The wireless company will remount their wireless antennas on the handrail at the top of the water tower instead where they are mounted on the sides of the tower. This will let the city get the water tower repainted. ED RICHTER/STAFF

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Monroe, Sprint reach agreement on relocating wireless equipment that is currently on the city’s water tower in Mound Cemetery. The wireless company will remount their wireless antennas on the handrail at the top of the water tower instead where they are mounted on the sides of the tower. This will let the city get the water tower repainted. ED RICHTER/STAFF

After Monroe repaints its water tower in Mound Cemetery, the wireless antennas and equipment currently hanging on the side will be removed.

Monroe City Council has amended its agreement with SprintCom Inc. to relocate the wireless equipment from the side of the 400,000-gallon elevated water tower to the handrail on top of the water tower.

City officials said the Public Works Department had been negotiating with the painting contractor, legal counsel and Sprint to discuss options of removing the cellular antennas during the upcoming tank-painting project. However, the current contract was an old contract with Sprint and did not have a provision to move the wireless equipment when the water tower needed repainting or other maintenance, officials said.

That provision is in newer contracts, such as the leasing agreement for the city’s North Main Street elevated tank that stores about 1 million gallons.

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Originally Sprint estimated that it could cost as much as $110,300 to remove and relocate the wireless antennas and equipment and expected the city to cover the costs.

However, city officials preferred that Sprint mount the antennas and equipment on the handrail on the top of the tower that city employees use when they need to do maintenance there. The city offered to cover the cost of the handrail, engineering approval that the handrail is capable of handling the weight of the antennas, as well as mounting provisions on the interior of the tank for Sprint to run their cables inside of the tank. The new handrail will also increase the safety for city employees performing maintenance.

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Public Works Director Dan Arthur said this would cost the city about $24,750 for the new handrail. He said Sprint would cover their cost of relocating the wireless equipment and antennas to the new handrail, about $37,500. However, Sprint wants the city to give them $34,966 in the form of a 12-month abatement their monthly space-leasing fee of $2,913. Sprint has already started relocating the antennas and other wireless equipment.

Arthur said containment barriers will be erected so that crews can begin sandblasting the water tower prior to repainting it.

Officials said the antennas are currently located on the “face” of the water tank in the area where the future city logo will be located and the word “MONROE” is located now.

Arthur said the $474,700 project to repaint the elevated tank inside and outside will take about four to six weeks to complete. He said the last time this water tower had been painted was in 1997.

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