Anthony Smith, President of Blue Ridge Towers
and the Booker T. Washington National Monument Site
A proposal for a monopine to service the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, VA, was approved last week by the Franklin County Planning Commission after two years of review. Blue Ridge Towers’ President Anthony Smith, got the nod from the Commission although final clearance will come this week following a vote by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors, according to the Roanoke Times.
“This tower will serve both the state-funded broadband initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as Verizon wireless as the anchor tenant,” Smith told Inside Towers.
Smith said his company had been in negotiations with the FCC and the State Historic Preservation Office over its impact on the park which houses the cabin where Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in 1856. After the Civil War, Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. Later as an adviser, author and orator, historians would rank him as the most influential African American of his era. Continue Reading
The Preservation Office was concerned about the tower’s effect on the viewshed of the park and is intent on keeping a look and feel of the 1860 era. At a meeting on January 11, the county requested several changes to the tower such as lowering its height to 160 feet and changing it from a monopole design to a faux pine tree configuration. Park administrators also requested that a wooded area be preserved on the western end of the site to protect the view.
The planning commission voted 6-0 with one abstention to move the proposal forward, the Times reported.
By Jim Fryer, Inside Towers Managing Editor