WEATHERSFIELD - A new communication system and tower will help improve radio communicating between safety forces and dispatchers in Niles and Weathersfield.
Officials from Niles city and Weathersfield Township gathered this week for the official dedication of the tower and power system located off Prospect Street in the township.
Police and firefighters in Niles and Weathersfield, who had difficulties communicating with dispatchers in the past because of the landscape, will no longer have those problems.
Trustee Steve Gerberry said the new system will enable communications in spots that used to be dead zones.
''This project was a long time in coming. It's great to see it get done,'' he said, noting efforts were started in 2009.
Officials said safety forces from both communities will begin using the 185-foot tower next week, along with new radios that should improve information sharing between dispatchers and mobile units.
The tower and upgrades to the system were paid for in part by a $495,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice secured by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.
"We were able to get this grant to help support Niles and Weathersfield to keep Trumbull County safe. If you don't have safety, you don't have economic development," Ryan said.
The funds covered the cost for the installation of the communication tower and necessary antennas, purchase of mobile and portable radios, transmitters, receivers to eliminate poor signal strengths in some areas, generators and other equipment.
Ryan said securing the grant was made easier by the cooperation between the two communities, since there is a lot of competition for the limited funds and grants.
The system also allows for each community to have a redundant frequency available for backup dispatching purposes.
He said this is an example of the ongoing effort by two communities to utilize intergovernmental collaboration and cooperation to complete much-needed projects.
Officials said collaboration between the two communities is also important, since the dispatch centers are now each other's backup if a system is inoperable.
Officials said there were two specific dead spots in the area inside the Eastwood Mall and at the Interstate 80 interchange at Salt Springs Road.