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NORTH TONAWANDA – Local officials broke ground this week for a new 280-foot communications tower at North Tonawanda Fire Department headquarters on Zimmerman Street.

The tower is part of a plan to construct a Niagara County dispatching backup center located in the basement of the fire station. Work on the backup center will begin in December.

The Niagara County Sheriff Department took over fire dispatching in 2004 for the city and in 2012 the North Tonawanda Police Department dispatch joined the central dispatch office in Lockport.

North Tonawanda Police Chief John C. Lapham said, the backup center is “ the first step in completing a project that was started some eight years ago.”

“With the start of construction today, we move closer to improved radio communications for North Tonawanda and the entire county,” he said.