County to use observation tower to receive wireless signal

It turns out the observation tower at Grimes Farm is set to provide more than just a great view.

Due to poor Internet and phone service at the Marshall County Conservation Board office, the county plans to use the tower to accept a point-to-point wireless ethernet signal. The signal will be shot from the Marshall County Courthouse to be bounced off the tower west of Marshalltown. Scott Williams, county technology director, described the project to the board of supervisors during a meeting Tuesday.

“We’ll have a much higher quality connection between here and there,” Williams said.

Since there is no power at the tower, the signal reception equipment will be run by a solar and wind generators on the tower. Williams said they have never done this before and they hope to not have it take up too much space on the tower.

“We don’t want too much bulk on this tower, it’s supposed to be a nature observation center,” Williams said.

Since the conservation office is in a remote area, Internet and phone service is either not available or too expensive to be done through providers. Williams said he hopes to have the signal up and running by the end of the month.

In other discussion at the meeting, Marshall County Treasurer Jarret Heil said tax statements are getting ready to be sent to property owners throughout the county.

“Statements hopefully will be out in a week or two,” Heil said.