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Monday's frigid weather didn't stop workers from starting work to erect a Afton's "monopine" tower at 15326 Afton Hills Court. Staff photo by Amber Kispert

Stealth tower raised -- finally

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Afton's "stealth" tower -- one that masquerades as a pine tree -- has finally taken root in Afton.

The radio communications tower, which hasn't exactly been welcomed with open arms in Afton, is located at 15326 Afton Hills Court.

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A work crew endured a frigid blast of winter weather to begin installation of the main portion of the tower on Dec. 15. It is expected to be in place by Thursday afternoon.

The tower is one of 14 scattered across Washington County by the sheriff's office as it introduces an 800 megahertz radio communication public safety system.

The stealth tower was projected to be completed on Dec. 8, but faced delays during construction, according to Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton.

The delays were primarily caused by the late delivery of the "monopine."

Hutton added there were no residents at the site to protest the tower's arrival.

Afton mayor Julia Welter said she realizes the project has been one of contention among residents, but she has full confidence in the county's ability to maintain the project.

"I understand that there are lingering concerns from some residents regarding this project, but I trust that the county will actively monitor and maintain the tower site," she said. "Members of this council gave their approval believing it was in the best interest of safety for first responders, as well as residents of Afton and Washington County."

The testing of the complete 14-tower system will begin in late December and continue on through January before going on-line in March.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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