32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

Shores cell tower still on track, but soil needs to be stabilized


Just as work was about to get underway digging the hole for the foundation of the Shores’ eagerly-awaited cell tower, engineers discovered the soil behind Town Hall will have to be reinforced with a special clay compound – one more hitch in the long-drawn-out effort to get a decent phone signal for residents of the island community.

But there is good news, too. While the problem will cost the town an additional $40,000, it turns out that stabilizing soil at the site that was saturated by this summer’s historic rainfall should not significantly delay completion of the project.

With Verizon contracted to use the tower and negotiations moving forward with AT&T, barrier island residents should see much-improved cell service in and around the Shores by this coming spring.

Crews are still expected to begin clearing the site this week, with construction scheduled to begin Dec. 11. Even better news is that the chances of getting a second major carrier on the tower are “highly likely,” according to Curt Jones, president of Datapath Tower, the firm in charge of the tower project.

Jones did not name AT&T but it’s no huge secret that “the second major carrier” in talks with the Shores is the company that some long-time customers have been with since it was called BellSouth Mobility.

Mayor Brian Barefoot did name AT&T, saying he was happy to hear that AT&T was near executing a lease for transmission space on the tower. “It’s really a defensive play because they’re going to lose customers to Verizon,” he said.

The Shores’ Public Safety Department communications equipment operates on the Verizon system, so that carrier was a priority, but the Town Council made it clear to Datapath when the company was engaged to design, permit, market and construct the tower that they needed to secure at least the two leading carriers in the market, with T-Mobile, Sprint and other companies on the wish list, too.

Jones explained that the major carrier (AT&T) had another tower deal fall through, moving the Shores project to the top of the decision-makers’ list to enhance local coverage.

It could take a month or two for carriers to get their signal-broadcasting equipment up and running after the stealth monopine tower is completed. (The Shores opted for a structure meant to resemble a 115-foot pine tree.)

To construct the tower without guy wires, a concrete foundation must be sunk deep into the ground – ground that Jones said is not in the same condition now as when engineers previously examined it.

“When the geotechnical survey was done, the water table was low [but] you’ve had an extraordinary amount of rain [since then],” Jones said. “You’re at 100 percent water table right now.”

After further testing, a material called Bentonite will probably be applied to a hole under the cell tower site to stabilize the soil. “We’re doing this to prevent a cave-in under the concrete slab,” Jones said.

Bentonite is described in a memo to the council as “an expensive, clay-based chemical that helps prevent collapse during drilling in areas with high water tables and fine/sandy soils, absorbs many times its weight in water, and acts as a seal on the walls of the hole during drilling to prevent water from leaking back into the hole.”

The additional work, which will cost the town $40,000 more than had been budgeted, will be funded out of reserves derived from the sale of a five-acre ocean-side parcel, which netted the town nearly $4.5 million. The council unanimously approved this change order to get construction underway.