Dardenne Prairie residents and city officials recently were asked whether they would mind if wireless communications equipment and antennas were hung on a flagpole at Ambulance Station 15, located at 1120 Feise Road. The catch? The pole would no longer fly the American flag.
The verdict? They did mind.
On July 18, the city’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution suggesting that new wireless equipment and antennas be hung – somewhere else. It was sent to the St. Charles County Ambulance District.
The resolution carries no legal weight and cannot force the ambulance district to continue to use the flagpole for flying flags. It simply urges the district to “retain the flagpole.”
“Ultimately, the ambulance district gets the call,” Dardenne Prairie Mayor David Zucker said.
The request came after the ambulance district was approached by SBA Communications with a request to upgrade cellular communications equipment currently attached to the tower, which also flies the American flag. The upgrade would include placing more equipment or antennas on the tower, preventing it from being used as a flagpole.
Kyle Gaines, communications director for the district, said the tower provides about $1,500 a month in revenue to the district. But he added that the amount of money generated by the new equipment isn’t that high.
“We wanted to be a good neighbor, so we reached out to the aldermen,” Gaines said. “We don’t want to make a decision in a silo and say, ‘tough, have at it.’”
Zucker said following the district’s request, the city did an online survey of residents to see if they approved of the district allowing the flagpole to be eliminated. He said 92 percent of respondents said they wanted to retain the flagpole while 8 percent had no objection.
“Everybody was of the strongly held opinion that the flagpole was a real plus and they wanted to see the flag flying,” Zucker said.
The resolution states that the display of the American flag at Station 15 “is overwhelmingly desired by [Dardenne Prairie] citizens.” It also thanks the district for seeking public input.
Gaines said the district’s board of directors may have to make the decision on keeping the flagpole. While the topic was not discussed that the board’s July 26 meeting, it could be discussed in August.