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Mt. Umunhum Radar Tower To Remain Standing For At Least 5 Years

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Mount Umunhum in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Al Reinig/CBS)

Mount Umunhum in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Al Reinig/CBS)

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (CBS SF) — The Mount Umunhum radar tower will remain standing for at least another five years, following a vote by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board on Wednesday.

District officials said more than 100 people attended the meeting, held Wednesday evening at the Historic Del Monte Building in Sunnyvale.

At the meeting, the board voted unanimously to spend about $414,855 to temporarily retrofit and secure the tower while seeking additional funds for a long-term solution, district spokeswoman LaNor Maune said.

The plan was adopted instead of a less expensive temporary solution, which would have involved spending $74,200 to erect a fence around the radar tower while funding was sought.

There were also three long-term options on the table Wednesday.

One involved tearing the tower down at a cost of about $639,319, and another called for drastically reducing the tower’s size and creating a public gathering space around it. That option would have cost 816,953.

The third option involved sealing and retrofitting the tower for $1.1 million, with $750,000 in long-term maintenance costs.

Maune said the short-term options developed as a result of recent meetings at which members of the public favored keeping the radar tower because of its historical significance.

The tower was part of the former Almaden Air Force Station during the Cold War, and was used to scan the horizon for Soviet planes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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