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County Commission to discuss offer to buy communications tower in Park City

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, at 4:07 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, at 10:46 p.m.

Sedgwick County commissioners on Wednesday will consider accepting an offer of $280,000 to buy a communications tower in Park City that the county will no longer need after the new 911 system becomes operational in about a year.

The offer for the tower at 1200 E. 77th St. North is from Wichita-based Pixius Communications.

The question isn’t whether to unload the tower but how.

Some commissioners want to put the tower and surrounding land up for bid and others want to have a public auction, County Manager William Buchanan said Monday.

He said the current offer “makes sense to me.”

The offer is for the tower – known as the Greyhound Park Tower – and five acres. When the deal included the tower and 8.6 acres, the appraised value was $305,000 with the land going for $14,000 per acre, Buchanan said. Knocking off 3.6 acres would reduce the appraised value by $50,400.

“That clearly makes up the $25,000 difference,” he said.

The tower is one of four sites being used by 911 emergency communications. Pixius, AT&T and Verizon wireless pay the county to have their antennas on the tower.

About eight or nine months ago, Pixius and AT&T wanted the county to structurally upgrade the tower so they could hang additional antennas on it, Buchanan said.

But in May it was decided the county would be switching to a new 911 system and the Park City tower would no longer be needed. That system will increase to 10 communication sites – nine leased and one owned by the county in Clonmel.

The new system is expected to be in place in about a year, Buchanan said.

The deal with Pixius would allow the county’s 911 antenna to stay on the tower at no cost for a minimum of a year “or maybe longer if the new 911 system isn’t up and running,” Buchanan said.

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