March 05, 2015
To improve communications for emergency personnel in northeast Johns Creek, the City is considering a nearby site in Forsyth County for a 195-foot Public Safety communications tower.
The site, located behind the Publix Supermarket, at 6425 Old Atlanta Rd., has two towers already on it, would eliminate gaps in radio coverage, and would provide greater penetration inside buildings in the Shakerag area of Johns Creek.
“This is a critical safety issue for our first responders and our citizens,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “It is imperative that we improve our Public Safety radio coverage in northeast Johns Creek. Our goal is to ensure that police, fire and medical personnel can communicate without interruption. That allows us to better protect them and the Shakerag community.”
The City currently uses a single Fulton County Public Safety communication tower at Jones Bridge and Morton roads to cover the entirety of the City. The one tower doesn’t have the strength or height to give all of Johns Creek optimum service for first responders.
As a matter of background:
Fulton County’s Public Safety Communications network is nearing the end of its functional life, and the county is spending about $19 million to upgrade its old technology. The County has replaced the equipment on the Jones Bridge tower and will install equipment on this proposed tower in Forsyth County as well.
In June, 2014 the City proposed a plan to erect a 400-foot tower near State Bridge and Medlock Bridge roads in an effort to cover the entire city with one tower. However, after receiving community input, the City sought alternative solutions. Instead of a single, tall tower, Fulton County has upgraded its equipment at the current Fulton County tower location at Jones Bridge and Morton roads and City is seeking a second site to serve the northeastern part of town.
Why this site?
Over seven months, the City evaluated multiple sites in Johns Creek and in Forsyth County but rejected them for various reasons, such as poor signal quality, cost and undesirable locations.
The property on Old Atlanta Road offers several advantages:
The Intergovernmental Agreement with Forsyth County
- It sits on slightly higher terrain, which helps the signal go farther and be heard more clearly.
- It already has two communication towers on it.
- It would serve effectively the northeast part of the City without being obtrusive.
We anticipate that the Forsyth County Commission will soon consider an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Johns Creek that would enable Johns Creek to erect a tower at the site on Old Atlanta Road in Forsyth County. The City is expected to take up the IGA as well.
Under terms of the IGA:
- The City would allow Forsyth County to use the tower to improve its own Public Safety communications, including a tornado siren;
- Forsyth County could direct private telecommunications providers to the City tower and share in the proceeds;
- Forsyth County approves a permit allowing the City to erect a tower.