1,500 Foot Broadcast Aerial Apparently Dies Under Threat of FAA Rejection

Remember the 1,500-foot broadcast town which was to bring McHenry County College $6 million?

McHenry County Blog broke the story March 1, 2008, that the MCC board was being approached by BMB Communications Management’s John Maguire to build a broadcast tower.

That was the meeting during which former MCC President Walt Packard to keep me from taking more pictures through the wire mesh safety windows of the board room. They wrapped the room in plastic.

The MCC Board also broke the Open Meetings Law by forcing taxpayers and media out of the building before it was over.

Eleven months later (Feb. 2, 2008), BMB issued a press release announcing it wanted to build a 1,500-foot tower on college property, MCC would get $6 million for 3.6 acres, the release said. (Note, the college did not issue the press release; the company wanting to lease the land did.)

How high is 1,500 feet?

Taller that the Sears, oops, Willis Tower, which tops out at 1,450 feet. You can see the height of the Eiffel Tower and the existing 300-foot FM aerial superimposed above on Chicago’s skyline.

Tonight at the MCC board meeting, after suggesting the board might want to go into secret session to discuss real estate, the board, in open meeting, heard that local BMB attorney Tom Zanck had called with regard to that broadcast tower.

Zanck conveyed the information that BMB’s tower experts had determined that the FAA would likely not approve of what BMB had proposed.

Similar information has reached my ears from local pilots.

“It is likely, according to their experts, that the FAA would not approve the tower as proposed.”

The attorney said the board could use due diligence to ask BMB’s experts to provide greater clarification.

“If you do nothing, Zanck can exercise (a clause to get out of the deal.”

“We knew going into this (was unlikely to be approved),” board member Barbara Walter said. “There is no sense in going on. I’d just let them out.”

When she added,

“We enjoyed every moment of it,”

she drew laughter in the room.

“Let them do their thing and let them out of it,” Board President George Lowe added.

Later in the hall, Lowe said that the tower he had seen in Oklahoma had three television broadcast towers. Previously, Maguire had only talked about one.

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