Last Updated: Jan. 25, 8:30 a.m., with details from Diamond Communications.
For the first time in almost 10 years, a new cell tower is going up in Palm Coast, the first of three slated to go up in the city this year.
The new 150-foot tower is going up at the city-owned utility plant behind Heroes Park on Palm Coast Parkway, just west of the county library. AT&T signed a lease to be on that tower, which will be completed in late February. AT&T’s signal should be active by the end of March, officials say. The tower should significantly improve coverage along the Palm Coast Parkway corridor, one of several areas plagued by poor cell coverage in the city.
About two months after the Palm Coast Parkway tower goes up, another is slated to go up at Fire Station 24 at 1505 Palm Harbor Parkway. AT&T is signing on to that tower as well. And later this year, another 150-foot tower is scheduled to go up at the Palm Coast tennis Center, 1290 Belle Terre Pkwy, next to an existing cell tower the city owns there, embedded in a 150-foot flagpole. The tower will be monopole-style with a full antennae array, with a capacity for four carriers.
AT&T will be signing on to the new tower there. T-Mobile has agreed to move from the flagpole to the new tower. “We’re hoping Verizon will follow suit, if not, Verizon can stay on the flagpole,” Cindi Lane, a city spokesperson, said. The site plan for the tower, along with construction drawings, are completed. Some environmental work remains to be done. “But they are hoping to build it this year,” Lane said. The tower is expected to improve reception in parts of the P and R Sections.
“Typically, a wireless communication tower such as the one being built [behind Heroes Park] can cover a range of 1-3 miles depending on population and traffic density, topography, foliage and other factors,” said Daniel Turnpaugh, Diamond Communications’s vice president for site management. “Each wireless carrier is responsible for their own network engineering.”
There will be an advantage for carriers to be on the new tower near the tennis center, as opposed to the flag pole. “The existing flag pole restricts the amount of equipment that a carrier can install, thereby limiting the carriers’ coverage and technological capabilities,” Turnpaugh said. “The new planned wireless communication tower will provide the wireless carriers with enhanced coverage and technological capability.”
The three towers are the result of a contract between Palm Coast government and Diamond Communications, a private company, the council approved on May 1, 2017, to improve cell reception in the city. Under the terms of the agreement, Diamond developed a wireless master plan and pledged to attract new carriers both to the city’s four existing cell towers (one of them a water tower in the Hammock) and to its own newly built towers.
Diamond builds the towers at its own expense on land leased from the city at minimal cost. Turnpaugh said the typical cost of a tower ranges between $300,000 and $400,000, depending on site-specific issues.
Diamond keeps 60 percent of the proceeds from carrier leases on its towers. The city’s share is 40 percent. The city continues to receive all revenue generated from its four towers. It has not lost leases on those city-owned towers since contracting with Diamond.
For the new AT&T lease at the tower behind Heroe’s Park, the city will be paid $14,160 a year. The rent will rise 2 percent a year. Diamond will also pay Palm Coast $25,000 as a site-development fee. (See the contract with Diamond here.)
Carriers have been resistant to providing service in Palm Coast because of too-stringent rules, Lane said. That changed last year when, in January, the council relaxed regulations, opened the way to taller towers at more than two dozen sites in the city, and shifted discretionary rule-making from the council to the administration. It was the first time the city was changing its wireless rules since 2005, when wireless communications were still in their relative infancy: the iPhone, for example, was still two years in the future back then.
“The Palm Coast City Council made it a top priority to improve cell service for our residents and businesses, and we’re excited to see this first new tower going up,” Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said. “People rely on their cell phones to keep in touch with family and friends and do their day-to-day business, and these new towers will improve service dramatically. Plus, there will be great public safety benefits as we continue to grow as a community.”
The city council is also leading a number of technology initiatives for Palm Coast such as updating the business plan for its fiber optic network for high-speed internet, telephone and other telecommunications services.
“We are expanding our use of technology through smart-city applications, and we are working to maximize the potential for the city’s FiberNet system and wireless infrastructure,” Holland said. “We see technology as a way to not only improve city services, but also to help grow the local economy.”
It’s about time some attempts will be made to try and catch up to current technology. I was at a council meeting not that long ago where the mayor was touting the great technology infrastructure in this city. I overtly made a soft disgusted noise which she took note of. During a comment session I explained that I live in a “dead zone” where cell service is non-existent or extremely spotty. Whenever visitors come to my home (in the P section), they cannot get on their various devices unless they use my wi-fi from a cable provider. This is just not acceptable in this day and age. I have lived in and traveled in remote rural areas that have excellent service compared to Palm Coast. So, cudos for moving forward into the 21st century folks. It’s about time!
While most people in this country are fighting back against these technologies that are destroying our society’s and our natural way of life, Palm Coast is going directly against that fight and furthering the reach in which these technologies impose on our health and privacy. It’s sad that they are so behind the curve, that they are just now implementing what many others are starting to do away with.
How about some over by Seminole woods area???
The e section has a huge att and Verizon dead spots. I have att and get spotty reception at mine and my brothers house a few blocks away and he has verizon and cant get a signal at home. I hope the new towers will help correct issues.
What about the cell tower that has been up for 8 months north of Graham Swamp on Colbert Ave? Is that one not operational?
The original woody says
Beautifying Palm Coast.
Tesa D says
We could really use some cell towers on the south side of belle terre and 100 for the Seminole woods and quail hollow subdivisions – were always the last ones to get accommodations
The Truth says
Is anyone ever happy about anything anymore?
Cell phone service is the way of life and coverage in Palm Coast has been horrible for quite some time. We finally start to see progress being made and towers going up and now some are complaining that these towers are going up. If you want to live in a area with no cell phone towers, no cell reception and minimal technology than move to the mountains or remote areas in the midwest. A city of 100,000 people is not the place for this. The reality is that cell phone reception in Palm Coast is horrible and it’s going to take time to get it up to the standards of surrounding areas. I have Verizon and see more dead spots around Palm Coast than I do anywhere else that I travel. I hope to see some improvement but since Verizon doesn’t want to sign on to any of these towers, I’ll be considering making a switch.
I live in Seminole Woods and have no problem on Sea Front Trail.
They need to put one out in the Mondex known as Daytona north. So we get service out there or put a hot spot at the Hidden Trails Park!
The Truth says:
January 24, 2019 at 7:30 am
Is anyone ever happy about anything anymore?
NOPE being unhappy about anything is the new way of being.
Rich & Wanda Harnage says
We welcome the progress being made to improve cell service in the area. For the ones complaining, hope you don’t have to make an emergency call and have no signal.
These cell towers are known to to increase the frequency of seizures for our residents with epilepsy.
Sharon Winfrey says
Visiting other places, we’ve seen cell phone towers with tree limbs at the top, In Phoenix they were palms, in Toledo, evergreens. Looked much better!
In yesterday’s workshop to all the towers already planned they will add 5 more as per Diamond consultant and they fund the towers construction and city receives some monthly revenue income for the use of our city land for these towers. I reside near PC parkway corridor and always have Verizon reception and while traveling thru Palm Coast never loose reception…maybe I do not travel thru the dead zones? There will be a day in the future when these towers won’t be needed as technology advances. I remember when I moved with my business in 1991 to Palm Coast I needed to be communicated even while dinning ocean front in FB and the only cell provider here was [email protected] and they offered me the only cell phone available a German Blaukpunt a mastodont weighing 2 lbs that took forever to recharge like overnight, while AT&T told me that I was the first female in Palm Coast owner of a (and top of the line) cell phone. Cost me a little fortune. https://www.ebay.com/i/272759106860?chn=ps . Back then I remember going often (made good money) for dinner to the Shark House restaurant on A1A and that Blaukpunt had reception there.I am sorry discarded that cell phone as is an antique now and probably will still work today. I miss the burnt down Shark House on A1A as much as I miss our Flaglers Bar at the ITT Sheraton by the Intracoastal in Club House Drive were I used to enjoy with daughter back then in community events. Sweet old times gone.
Sadie Hays says
We got one right here in Brow