St. John approves $2M+ first responder communications upgrade

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

MT. AIRY — Better and more reliable radio communications for first responders in the westernmost areas of St. John the Baptist Parish is nearing, local officials said.

The Office of Fire Services and St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office are entering into an agreement for the construction of a new radio tower in the western part of the parish.

The Office of Fire Services is committing $165,000 to cover foundation costs for construction of the tower in Mt. Airy.

The Sheriff’s Office has already committed $2 million to the project, which will provide more reliable radio communications in St. John’s western reaches.

The agreement was approved last week during the St. John the Baptist Parish Council meeting.

Council members also authorized the parish to accept ownership of 3.19 miles of Louisiana 643 from the Department of Development and Transportation in exchange for transfer credits that can be used for the Parish’s match in future road projects.

A resident of Pleasure Bend, which is included in part of the highway that is being transferred, objected, saying neighbors had only recently received the information and bigger priorities such as better lighting and paving needed to be addressed.

Parish President Natalie Robottom said St. John’s lighting fund is designed for those types of projects and she also committed to pave the roads in Pleasure Bend.

However, Robottom pointed out that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development credits cannot be used for digging ditches, paving or lighting.

“I don’t see why it would be a problem for residents,” she said.

— By Richard Meek