Lots of Things Are Happening These Days at the Pocahontas County 911 Center

Very recently, we sat down with Mike O’Brien at the Pocahontas County 911 Center and asked him what new projects and improvements are happening there.

“So, when we found out that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was not going to go through our county, we knew they had those laydown yards up at the Frost area,” said O’Brien. “And, we got to thinking those yards have to come out and they have to reclaim that property, that might be a good source for us to get some gravel for our access road out to our access road to our 911 tower at Spruce Flats, which is almost a mile long and It’s an old logging road through Forest Service property. And so, we reached out to the Forest Service and started the process of a special use permit. Reached out to the pipeline, and they agreed that they are going to donate us gravel for that rod -that access road. And (we have) hopes for improvement for that, and then we have future plans to look at expanding that site and putting in a new tower out there, something that’s bigger and will hold more infrastructure – things that we really need to get in place to have a more stable 911 system and update our radio network. We can’t do much more until we get better infrastructure in place. So, hopefully that project moves forward. Right now we (have) a tentative start date to start hauling stone out of there on July 5th.”

Mike, what’s going to be involved with getting all that gravel moved and then laid down on the road?

“Gonna be a lot of loads, so right now looking at that job, it looks like we are going to get fifty loads of stone for that job. It is going to go to a facility to be stockpiled for the time being while the permit process goes through. That’s quite an extensive permit process to get approved through the forest Service, of course, to use their land.   They’ve been great to work with so far, and hopefully that goes through pretty quick and we get better access in there to our site.”

Mike, is there anything else going on at the 911 Center that citizens might like to know about?

“Lot of excitement going on here at 911. We are in the process of picking out and hiring an engineering firm to guide us on these tower replacements. We’re to the point in 911 we got to have some better infrastructure in place. We got to update our towers. Some of these towers here were built in the (nineteen) sixties and wasn’t designed to hold the equipment we are trying to hold today. We are trying to build out our radio network, and that’s pretty exciting to progress on that. Although, (it will) be a long road, a lot of work there that has to be done in order to bring that to reality.”

“But (there’s) always excitement here, something that we enjoy doing. O course, we’ve got the Hazardous Mitigation Grant application. We got an engineering firm and design company working on that to relocate the 911 Center hopefully to the hospital. That grant should be submitted here soon, and hopefully we hear from that.”

“We are in the process of updating our recorder here -our 911 recorder that records our radio traffic and phone lines. That stuff is a little bit out dated. And we got our parking lot finally finished here at the 911 Center. That project finally completed.”

We also O’Brien about his role on our county’s Broadband Council, so keep listening to Allegheny Mountain Radio for that second part of our interview with Mike O’Brien.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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