GENOA – Residents may notice a new cellphone tower rise up over the weekend in preparation for a half-million-dollar makeover to the Prairie Street water tower this summer.
Verizon Wireless is building a temporary 104-foot-tall cell phone tower next to the city’s water tower along Prairie Street so that service will not be interrupted when its antennas are removed from the top of the tower, said Rich Gentile, Genoa Public Works director.
The removal of the six antennas will be the first step in a $454,891 paint job project for the water tower starting in late July.
“They’ll sandblast it and put [a] new paint coat on it,” Gentile said. “It’s been 24 years since its last paint job.”
The tower, which was built in 1958, is not in need of any significant repairs, Gentile said, but any small repairs that are needed may be identified while the tower is repainted. The city’s new logo will be included on the tower.
Workers have begun to erect the temporary cellphone tower and were about half-way finished on Friday, Gentile said. The cost to build the temporary cellphone tower and remove and reinstall the antennas will be covered in full by Verizon, he said.
Once the water tower repairs and repainting are complete, Verizon will reinstall its antennas and remove the temporary tower. Gentile said he expects the paint job to be finished by late September depending on the weather, which has stalled several construction projects in the county over the past few months.
The city is in the final stages in applying for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency low interest and forgiveness program, which will forgive up to 75% of the cost to repaint the tower. Gentile said he expects to hear from the IEPA within two to four weeks.
A similar project to repair and repaint the city’s water tower on Cherry Lane was financed by an IEPA loan. The work on that project has led to an improvement in water quality for Genoa residents and businesses, according to the Genoa Public Works website.