Purcellville discusses adding new cell tower at wastewater facility

Basham Simms Wastewater Treatment Facility in Purcellville

After more than a year of discussions and contract negotiations, the Purcellville Town Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to approve a contract with Wireless Edge to develop, market and manage a  telecommunications facility at the town’s Basham Simms Wastewater Treatment Facility on S. 20th St.

With the 40-year contract agreement, the town has the potential to receive up to $66,000 per year for licensee fees - depending on market rates - and a one-time bonus payment of up to $65,000.

According to a presentation by John Arthur, president and CEO of Wireless Edge, the tower will be constructed to accommodate up to five cellular carriers. It also has the potential use of serving as a fiber hub for local broadband, he said.

The tower is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Arthur said last year that he hoped to have the tower constructed and operating quickly.

“It is in our best interest to do this as quickly as possible,” he said. “So, we want to get the process going,” Arthur said. “I don’t really see any issues or surprises. It’s a clean site, with easy access and no trees to take down. I don’t see any environmental issues. We should go through this process pretty briskly.”

Adding a cell tower at the wastewater treatment facility has been a goal of the town council for at least four years, especially during the ongoing maintenance of the water tower near Loudoun Valley High School when cellular coverage in town was disrupted.

Town Council members have said they are hopeful by adding a tower at the facility, coverage will be improved on the southern side of Purcellville.

An initial request for proposals (RFP) received no interest in 2019 and after making several changes, the town authorized a second RFP in March 2020 and received seven responses.

Members of the town council thanked town staff and Wireless Edge for their work in securing the agreement.

“This creates a revenue stream for our utilities which is good and better cellular coverage for our town. Those are all the core things and I’m good with that,” said Councilman Joel Grewe.

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