Federal grant ‘guarantees’ $984k for Wilton emergency radio project

Photo of J.D. Freda
A cell tower off Deer Run Road in Wilton.

A cell tower off Deer Run Road in Wilton.

Hearst File Photo

WILTON — The town’s new emergency services radio system replacement project will benefit from an approved federal grant to the tune of $984,000, Police Capt. Tom Conlan said Monday.

“We did learn today that (after) we had, back in June, applied for a congressional spending grant that went through Chris Murphy and Sen. Blumenthal’s offices, we were actually approved for $984,000 towards the radio project,” Conlan said to the Police Commission.

Total costs could range from $2.6 million to $3.2 million, according to cost estimates Conlan presented in November when the decision was made to “piggyback” onto the state system rather than implement a standalone system.

While “logistics” still have to be worked out between the state and town to receive the funds, Conlan said that the money “was a guarantee.”

The current emergency communications system has been deemed at its “end of life” by numerous officers and town officials. It was implemented in 2002 and built to last 15 to 20 years.

The town and its police department have been working with Paul Zito, owner of New England Radio Consultants, who has helped compile estimates after looking into three possible options last summer.

After two-plus years of exploring options and multiple delays, a set number and plan may start to become fully realized soon. The project is expected to not only supply a critically needed update to police radio communications, but service all communications for the fire department, volunteer ambulance corps, Department of Public Works and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Each party was involved in the decision to move forward with joining the state police communication network.

Conlan said that the department received “more firm numbers” on Monday but, after a call with Zito, the pair concurred that they will need to take a closer look at the 114-page document before disclosing new estimates.

“That’s good news that we got that back,” Conlan said. “We were waiting for that for quite a while, so hopefully that’ll start to move forward.”