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NYC Broadcasters Looking At Bayonne, N.J. for New Tower

After months of searching for sites for a new broadcast tower to house the antennas of the TV and radio broadcast stations lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a coalition of the stations has tentatively chosen a 6-acre site in Bayonne, N.J.

The tower, 4.5 miles from New York City, would stand 2,000 feet tall and be financed by 10 TV stations that were affected by the World Trade Center collapse and are members of the Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA). Those stations include WABC, WCBS, WPIX, WWOR, WNYW, WNBC, WNJU, WPXN, WXTV and WNET. Most of the stations are currently using a crowded antenna array atop the Empire State Building.

The MTVA initially favored Governor's Island in New York as the new tower site because of its proximity to the World Trade Center and because of the island's security advantages. But ownership issues and a lack of political support for the location eliminated the island from contention, MTVA said in a Jan. 7 letter to Bradley Campbell, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Bayonne has zoned the land but approval will be required from its city council and federal officials before ground is broken. The 17-page letter from MTVA is in response to Campbell's request for additional information on environmental, aesthetic and security issues. Approval is also required from the FAA.

MTVA considered four sites in and adjacent to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., but rejected them all for various reasons. The Bayonne site, at the northeast corner of the former Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal, satisfies security, environmental and economic concerns, MTVA said. The site is surrounded on three sides by water, with the nearest structures 1,400 feet away.

The site is public land that's not now generating any tax revenue, and MTVA has agreed to pay $5 million to the city of Bayonne for the spot. MTVA also estimates $200 million in construction costs to be paid in the area.

MTVA said the tower will serve as a catalyst to area redevelopment and will provide opportunities to study climate and pollution.

Bayonne officials cited economic development as one of the prime reasons for approving the tower, which it hopes will be operational by 2004.