Harpswell will hold a special town meeting Tuesday, June 1, where voters will be asked to allow a small change to a previously-approved wireless communications tower at George J. Mitchell Field.

Massachusetts-based Blue Sky Towers, responsible for building and maintaining the tower, found their planned route to run underground wires from the road to the tower isn’t going to work, according to Deputy Town Administrator Terri Sawyer.

Although finding a new route for the wires is an easy fix for the company, it will require them to install a new telephone wire pole near Pammy’s Ice Cream Parlor on Harpswell Neck Road, next to the Harpswell Neck fire station, said Sawyer.

If voters approve the small change, Sawyer said she doesn’t believe residents will notice any difference “except for a new pole being set near the ice cream stand.”

“They’ll see the new communications tower, of course, but that was previously approved,” said Sawyer.

The tower itself will not exceed 200 feet tall, so it doesn’t need to be equipped with lights to warn aircraft. It will be built near the site of the old water tower in Mitchell Field, which was demolished in September 2018.

Harpswell will install local emergency communication equipment to provide better service for its emergency services, and equipment for AT&T, a popular wireless phone provider, will be on the tower as well.

Once built, the cell tower will establish stronger cell phone service on Orr’s and Bailey islands, something that section of Harpswell desperately needs, Kevin Johnson, select board chair, said last October when the tower was approved.

While Harpswell has a few cell towers, they don’t provide complete coverage and leave sections of Orr’s and Bailey islands without a good cell signal. The two islands are difficult to cover completely because they’re on the end of one of the long, narrow peninsulas that make up Harpswell, which jut into Casco Bay.

Sawyer said Blue Sky Towers is expected to finish constructing the tower this summer, but she didn’t know when it would be operational.

The special town meeting will take place at the Harpswell Community School and begin at 6:30 p.m.


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