Warwick, RI – The base of a new Verizon cell tower is taking shape behind the Warwick Fire Department Headquarters on Veterans Memorial Parkway, marking the final days of the iconic landmark Warwick Water Tower.
The RI DOT’s Apponaug Circulator Project will be built in part through the lot where the landmark stands. “It’ll be coming down,” said Rick Crenca, principal planner at the Warwick Planning Department, so the Verizon antennas posted atop it need to move to another location.
That’s where the construction behind the Fire Department headquarters comes in. Crenca said both the existing Warwick Police Department antenna tower and City Hall were considered as possible locations. But the WPD tower can’t take the extra antennas, and City Hall isn’t tall enough.
So, Verizon has agreed to lease the tower location from the City for a new tower. The lease is for $30,000 annually for 10 years, then two automatic 5-year renewals, with the option of future renewals if both parties agree after that. The lease increases by three percent, compounded, each year, Crenca said.
At the site, Jeremy Roberts and Edmund Sears, workers with Gordon Building of Hope Valley, said they are working to finish the base so the tower can be built there next week.
Once the new Verizon tower is up, the antennas will be moved to it, and demolition of the Warwick Water Tower will begin, said Crenca.
The horizon-dominating landmark, visible from City Hall and from the Planning Department offices at the City Hall Annex, hasn’t been used since mills thrived in the area, Crenca said. It’s been an iconic part of Apponaug Village for about 100 years, he said.
Though the City and the Apponaug Area Improvement Association explored ways to save the water tower, it proved too big a task. “To take it down and to move it would’ve been very, very expensive,” Crenca said.
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