FARMINGTON — Agreements are still in the works but there is hope for a proposed 100-foot telecommunications tower to be built on Kibby Mountain in Kibby Township. A draft environmental assessment is ready for review.

The tower would be used only for radio traffic for first responders and security organizations along the border with Canada.

Franklin County is one of five involved in a Border Interoperability Demonstration Project. There is a grant for $3.9 million to establish and enhance interoperable communications with Canadian partners, according to Tim Hardy, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency. They are in the third year of a grant cycle.

Washington is the host county. Other counties participating are Aroostook, Oxford and Somerset, Hardy said.

“What we are proposing for our part of the grant in Franklin County is to build a communications tower on Kibby Mountain where the wind turbines are,” he said.

Hardy and others have been working with TransCanada, which owns the Kibby Wind Project on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in Kibby and Skinner townships and Sisk Mountain in Kibby Township and Chain of Ponds Township in northern Franklin County. They have also been working with Plum Creek, which owns the land the Canadian company leases from them. The intent is to secure agreements and leases to construct the tower for radio communications.

The tower would be built to run on solar power.

A draft environmental assessment is available for review at Hardy’s office at the Franklin County Courthouse in Farmington and at the Eustis Town Office in Eustis. The assessment addresses the potential effects that the proposed tower may have on human and natural environments. It also summarizes the purpose and need for the project and alternatives, affected environment and potential environmental consequences for the tower project.

Written comments on the draft assessment can be sent to Tim Hardy, Franklin County Emergency Management Agency director, 140 Main St., Suite 1, Farmington, Maine 04938 or emailed to [email protected]

If no comments are received by July 28, the draft assessment will be considered final.

TransCanada and Plum Creek have been more than cooperative in assisting those involved to secure a communication facility on Kibby Mountain, Hardy said.

The design of the project has changed since the original grant application four years ago due to changes in technology.

“The other part we are trying to achieve out of this, along with enhancing communications with Canadian partners, is also to enhance communication capability for those first responders,” he said.

They are hoping to get a 20-year lease for the tower, he said. The lease would be paid upfront as part of the grant.

Franklin County would own the tower.

[email protected]


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