Cell phone service is now available in Cameron, thanks to a public-private partnership designed to ensure city residents can communicate with the rest of the world.
AT&T and Consol Energy Inc. teamed with the Marshall County Commission to construct a new cellular tower on Cameron Ridge Road. The project aimed to not only improve cell phone service in the area, but also to enhance emergency communications.
It was announced Thursday that AT&T cellular service from the tower had gone live.
File Photo by Daniel Dorsch
Marshall County officials, from left, Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel, County Clerk Jan Pest, Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil, Commissioner Brian Schambach, Sheriff John Gruzinskas, Commissioner Don Mason and Commissioner Jason “Jake” Padlow stand in front of the new cell phone tower on Cameron Ridge Road.
"The project has been a true example of a private/public partnership," said commission President Jason "Jake" Padlow. "AT&T, Consol and the Marshall County Commission have worked for many years to see this project finally come to fruition.
"Cellular service in the Cameron region of Marshall County greatly enhances safety services for our residents, businesses and industry in that area," he added. "We could not be more pleased that this phase of the project is complete."
Ground was broken on the project in April, but plans were in the works for about four year prior to that.
Marshall County Office of Emergency Services Director Tom Hart said three sites had been considered, with Consol ultimately donating the land for the 340-foot tower that has an additional 20-foot antenna on top.
In August 2011, the county commission received a $493,578 grant from the West Virginia Wireless Tower Access Assistance Fund, setting the project in motion.
"AT&T is thrilled to announce that our cell site in Cameron is up and running, J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Mid-Atlantic, said Thursday. "Thanks to this site, consumers in the area will have better access to safety services in addition to being able to use their phones to connect with friends and family."
David Kelly, vice president of Consol's Ohio Valley operations, said the company was pleased to assist the community where so much of it work takes place.
"Marshall County plays an important role in Consol Energy's efforts to develop the region's natural gas and coal resources, and we are proud that our partnership with AT&T, the Marshall County Commission and the local state legislative delegation has delivered enhanced communications capability that will improve the safety and quality of life for the residents of Marshall County," he said.
In addition to bringing wireless service to the area, the new cell tower will enable the Marshall County Commission to provide the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management, E-911, the sheriff's department, municipal law enforcement, the local detachment of the State Police, volunteer fire departments and medic units access to the statewide Interoperability Radio Network.
It is expected to drastically improve overall communications for first responders and emergency services for residents in the southeastern area of the county.
Staff Writer Jim Cochran contributed to this report.